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Latin America’s transition to democracy in the 1970s and 1980s was accompanied by the increased political participation of women, who demanded not only equal rights, but also insisted that addressing women’s specific interests was key to establishing a truly representative democracy. Many in the Latin American women’s movement saw the right to safe, legal abortion as fundamental. To date, their demand for this has gone largely unfulfilled, except in Cuba. There is no panacea to rescinding punitive abortion laws. However, the region is currently witnessing shifts in government policies on abortion, both progressive and retrogressive, which suggest that there is potential for substantive reform. This article will use the recent experiences of Colombia, Mexico City, and Nicaragua to highlight shared challenges, establish linkages with other countries in the region, and demonstrate that the many different strategies which have been adopted present an opportunity to expand access to safe, legal abortion throughout Latin America.

This article is hosted by our co-publisher Taylor & Francis. For the full table of contents for this and previous issues of this journal, please visit the Gender and Development website.

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