Tens of thousands of women marched through the streets of Latin American cities to celebrate and mark International Safe Abortion Day, as well as protest against anti-abortion policies still prevalent in many parts of Latin America.
Although there are still a few nations, including El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, that retain a complete ban, Latin American feminists have fought for decades to reverse harsh prohibitions.
Protesters in Mexico rejoiced at the Supreme Court's recent ruling decriminalising abortions at the federal level.
In Argentina, protesters were more solemn, fearing that the validation of a populist far-right presidential contender ahead of elections in October could spell danger for decades of feminist activism.
Green smoke floated over a roaring crowd of thousands of women in Mexico City who waved green handkerchiefs, which have become the symbol of Latin America’s “green wave” abortion movement. Signs reading “It’s my decision” and “Free and safe abortions for everyone” speckled the crowd, AP reported.
Abortion was legalised in Argentina three years ago, but 52-year-old political outsider Milei has described the procedure as murder and vowed to ban it.
Dressed mainly in green, the color of the abortion rights movement, women marched through the Buenos Aires city center on International Safe Abortion Day to the president´s office and parliament. Rallies were held in several other Latin American countries.
"We are gathered to defend women´s rights because we fear a setback depending on the outcome of the elections," said Martha Gazzano, a 47-year-old psychologist marching with her 15-year-old daughter.
Milei unexpectedly surged to the front of the presidential race in primary elections in August.
Ultraliberal on the economy and socially conservative, he remains ahead in polls.
"Obviously a woman has rights over her own body, but the child is not part of her body," he has said on the topic of abortion, which he said would be put to a referendum if he wins.
Argentina legalised abortion in 2020 until the 14th week of pregnancy. It was previously allowed only in cases of rape or if the woman´s life was at risk.
In Latin America, the only other countries where elective abortion is legal are Colombia, Cuba, Mexico and Uruguay.
In Peru, hundreds of women with green scarves marched to the Palace of Justice in Lima to demand the procedure be made legal.
Abortion in Peru is outlawed even in cases of rape.
"In other words, women are forced to go through with pregnancies that are the result of an odious crime," said Liz Melendez, leader of a women´s advocacy group called Flora Tristan.
Rallies for the right to abortion were also held in Chile, where the procedure is allowed only in cases of rape or danger to the life of the mother.
In the Venezuelan capital, an estimated 100 people gathered outside Congress, waving multicolored flags and carrying banners with slogans such as ´Decriminalise abortion now!´"
"I receive patients who end their pregnancies in dangerous conditions and many end up with serious consequences," 54-year-old gynecologist and obstetrician Pedro Gutierrez said.
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