The Center for Reproductive Rights’ Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) team and other members of the Latin American Green Wave movement led a series of events March 7–10 in Los Angeles to coincide with both International Women’s Day (March 8) and the 186th Period of Sessions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).
The events aimed to call on the IACHR to protect women and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights and raise public awareness of the fight to decriminalize abortion in Latin America. More than 13.5 million women of reproductive age live in Latin American countries where abortion is completely banned.
“The fight for our rights must be collective and without borders. That is why we were in Los Angeles for the hearings of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. We want to tell the world that reproductive rights are human rights and that our autonomy and freedom must be fully recognized,” said Catalina Martínez Coral, the Center’s Senior Regional Director for LAC.
Green Wave members began the events by organizing several “pañuelazos”—demonstrations in which participants wear green bandanas, a symbol of the movement and its drive for free and legal abortion in the region.
- A symbolic “take-over” of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where human rights defenders from Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil placed green stars featuring reproductive rights-related messages over the stars on the walk. “My body, my right, my decision,” “safe and free abortion,” “freedom to decide,” and other Spanish-language messages were featured.
- Participation in an IACHR public hearing, “Reproductive Rights and Violence Against Women and Girls in Brazil,” focusing on the harms that barriers to access to reproductive health services have had on the lives and health of people in Brazil, where maternal mortality has increased by 94% in the last three years.
- Meetings with the Commission and its Executive Secretariat to advocate for legal standards in the Latin American region and discuss the situation in the U.S. in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
- Side event on mobilization strategies to protect abortion rights in Latin America and how recent steps forward set precedents for other states in the Americas. Soledad García Muñoz, Special Rapporteur on the Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights of the IACHR, delivered opening remarks. Martínez Coral spoke about her experience working to expand abortion access in the region alongside other reproductive rights leaders and activists from Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.
- Spanish-language Twitter panel, “Voices of the Green Wave: Advancing the Decriminalization of Abortion in Latin America,” hosted by representatives from the Center and other reproductive rights organizations from Latin America. For this International Women’s Day discussion, Martínez Coral spoke on the panel about her involvement in Causa Justa, the movement behind abortion decriminalization in Colombia.
View photos of the events:
More about the Green Wave:
Named for the green bandanas worn by its members, the Green Wave is a reproductive rights movement that advocates for expanded abortion access in Latin America. The Green Wave’s efforts have resulted in significant advances for reproductive rights in Latin America, including:
- The decriminalization of abortion in Argentina up to 14 weeks of gestation in 2020.
- A 2021 ruling by the Supreme Court of Mexico declaring the absolute criminalization of abortion to be unconstitutional.
- The Constitutional Court of Colombia’s ruling to decriminalize abortion up to 24 weeks of gestation in 2022.
The movement anticipates court rulings in 2023 that could improve reproductive rights in the region, including the Beatriz case before the Inter-American Court on Human Rights about the impacts of the total abortion ban in El Salvador; the Niñas No Madres (Girls Not Mothers) movement’s case, a lawsuit against the United Nations Human Rights Committee on behalf of four survivors of sexual violence from Ecuador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua; and cases at the Ecuador Constitutional Court and Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court to improve access to legal abortion.