Abortion Rights Lawfare in Latin America

This project will analyse the strategic use of rights and law in battles over abortion rights in Latin America – and the various effects of this lawfare between opposing groups. We define lawfare as the phenomenon of civil society actors adopting diverse legal and illegal, formal and informal strategies to engage legal institutions in order to further or halt policy reform and social change. Lawfare in various forms has become a central feature of political life in most Latin  America countries, but the growing scholarship on the interaction between judicial institutions and human rights in Latin America has mainly focused on socially progressive, rights-expanding forms of lawfare. The study will outline the development of regulation on abortion in Brazil during the last 10 years using interviews with key actors, analysis of documents and media analysis to highlight key  moments of the mobilization of pro and counter rights groups and the intensification of disputes in the public sphere. Three key moments, involving decisions made by different institutions of the different branches of the State, will be analyzed in detail: 1) the 2005 technical norm of the Ministry of Health (considered one of the greatest advances in the enforcement of legal abortion)  which removes the requirement that rape victims present a police report to a public hospital in order  to obtain a legal abortion or post-abortion care; (2) the 2008 Supreme Court decision to legalize abortion in cases where the fetus is anencephalic, and; 3) the 2013 debate in parliament involving two opposing statutes: the recently approved law that provides public health care to women victims of sexual violence, which includes offering emergency contraception; and the Unborn Child Statute Bill that proposes a total ban on abortion, which is still being discussed. Research will analyze how  the decisions were disputed by the interested parties; how pro- and counter positions organized themselves (groups, organizations, profiles, financing, etc.); what strategies were adopted; what  issues emerged and who set the terms of the dispute; the role of the media; how the procedure of decision-making was structured and who had the opportunity to intervene/participate in the process;  the rationale underpinning the decision and the impact of discussion in the public sphere.

Professor(es) coordenador(es): Marta Rodriguez de Assis Machado

Equipe: Marta Rodriguez de Assis Machado, Fernanda Emy Matsuda, Maria Cláudia Girotto do Couto, Mariana Lins de Carli Silva, Ana Luíza Bandeira, Lucas Nogueira Garcez

Instituição parceira: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)

Financiador externo: Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI)

Data do início da pesquisa (mês/ano): jul/2014

Data do término da pesquisa (mês/ano): ago/2016



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