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September-12-00

World Health Organization Estimates 4 Million Unsafe Abortions Per Year In Latin America

The World Health Organization estimates that four million unsafe abortions are performed annually in Latin America. Women who cannot afford safe abortion fees ranging from $300 - $600 or who face abortion restrictions are forced to use underground or unsafe abortion facilities. Most Latin American countries impose tight restrictions to abortion access and the procedure itself. In Chile, for example, abortion is illegal and is only permitted in cases where a woman's life is endangered but the country holds one of the highest abortion rate in the region. Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Uruguay all impose restrictions to abortions mandating its availability to "preserve a woman's physical or mental health or for rape or incest or fetal impairment." A September 10 Chicago Tribune story tells of Mrs. Marques a Brazilian woman whose infant died within minutes of birth after she was forced by law to carry her pregnancy to full term despite medical tests showing fetal abnormalities. Gilson Marques, the husband of Mrs. Marques commented, "If we were rich and corrupt we could have gone to any clinic and had [an abortion]………We tried to do it the legal way, the only way we could, and we were called names and persecuted."

Media Resources: Chicago Tribune September 10 2000, International Planned Parenthood Federation "Reproductive Rights 2000"

   

     

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