The ideal would be for women to access abortion upon request, but if that were not an option, a woman should, at the very least, have access to therapeutic abortion. Restricting women’s access to abortion to save their lives or preserve their health is problematic because it is disempowering and limits the ability to control their bodies and lives.
Given the number of unintended pregnancies that occur and the lack of sexual education in developing countries, access to safe abortion is central to women’s reproductive and overall health. The criminalization of abortion is especially concerning when women are denied proper medical attention when suspected of committing a crime under circumstances outside a woman’s control. At the same time, it is promising to observe the countries in Latin America amending their abortion laws, and it is imperative that the remaining countries follow suit. NGO advocacy in many different Latin American countries has been key in addressing the issue of access to safe abortion. Their continued commitment to this cause is essential to ending the criminalization of abortion in El Salvador and Nicaragua.