Using Constitutional Courts to Advance Abortion Rights in Latin America
International Feminist Journal of Politics 2021
19 Pages Posted: 14 May 2022
Date Written: October 1, 2021
Over the past two decades, the abortion rights controversy has become the most prominent field of dispute between feminisms and religious conservatisms across Latin America. In this context, the political powers have generally been reluctant to change the region´s restrictive abortion legal frameworks, and since the mid-2000s, Latin American feminists turned to courts in search for long pursued reforms in this field. Through the analysis of the role of constitutional courts in the liberalization of abortion laws in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, this study points out the diverse ways in which courts have contributed to the advancement of abortion rights, becoming an alternative venue for feminist advocacy in Latin America. It highlights how the use of courts has been a way to liberalize abortion laws, ensure the implementation of lawful abortions, and deter backlash processes. Furthermore, it details how courts have offered a platform for public deliberation on the abortion issue. These findings show how the judiciary can be a favourable venue for feminist activism in Latin America when other institutional sites are blocked. They also pose nuances to the critique of the use of courts for social change, which stresses the pernicious consequences of the judicialization of social movement causes.
Keywords: Abortion; Judicialization; Courts; Feminism; Backlash; Latin America
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