Americans United for Life collaborated with human rights attorneys in Latin America to produce the scholarly publication, “Defending the Human Right to Life in Latin America,” on the extent to which the basic human right to life is protected in Latin America.

Rocío Gómez, Senior Fellow, Latin America at Americans United for Life, leads the scholarly publication of new Latin America reports since “Defending the Human Right to Life in Latin America,” was first released in 2012, as this vital human right continues to be a contentious topic.

Access on Amazon Kindle in English and Spanish, or download your free copy of the English or Spanish editions now.


Countries & Reports

Region Wide

Human embryo in Latin American legislation after the Artavia Murillo ruling
English | Español

The general tendency that is currently observed in the countries analysed is the general respect for human life and the protection of the embryo, even before its implantation in the womb. Although some countries already have laws that allow TRHA, in which there is a pending bill, there is a reluctance to leave human life unprotected in its initial stage.


Abortion as Obstetric Violence
English | Español

It is known that abortion injures (as much the health as the life of) both the mother and child, so the practice of abortion is obstetric violence. This is why we maintain that countries should prohibit abortion and work with interdisciplinary teams to develop social support systems for pregnancy, childbirth and post-delivery.

The Severe Argentine Abortion Law
English | Español

After the rejection of the abortion law in 2018, Argentine society was able to resume its daily activities without having the violent pressure of abortion at the doors of Congress. The activities of pro-life associations in the country were again devoted to seeking to assist mothers with vulnerable pregnancies or families with complex needs.

Artavia Murillo v. Costa Rica
English | Español

Recently, Argentina was the protagonist of a profound debate on the possible legalization of abortion. There are numerous approaches from which to contribute to this debate; however, in this article we will analyse one in particular: the scope and implications of the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in particular of the case “Artavia Murillo vs. Costa Rica”, in light of the conventionality control theory.

National Conferences of Women: A Critical Vision
English | Español

The national conferences of Women, born with the purpose of defending the legitimate rights of women, have been disfigured to become a tool of pressure from extremist groups to claim an alleged right to abortion. This report explains the history and consolidated structure of these meetings and the influence they have in the country.

Chronicles of the Latest Battle for Life in Argentina
English | Español

The abortion lobby has been guided and funded for years by foundations and international organizations such as Ford Foundation, United Nations, Gates Foundation, United Nations Population Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, National Organization for Woman, Naral Pro-Choice, and —mainly— by the multinational International Planned Parenthood Federation; through its organizations and foundations in Argentina such as Casa FUSA, CEDES, CELS, Amnesty International, and Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (Catholics for the right to decide).

2015 Debate on Abortion in the Argentine Congress
English | Español

On November 4, a bill on abortion was discussed in the Criminal Law Committee of Deputies’ Chamber of Argentina. What was proposed was abortion free, legal and costless. “Free” means that it can be done at any stage of pregnancy, “legal” that it is allowed and promoted by law, and “costless” because the public health system will pay for the abortion. The bill called “Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy” seeks to legalize abortion even to the time before birth, depending on the circumstances.

2015 Argentina Civil Code Modification and the Impact of the Supreme Court Decision
English | Español

The following article provides an analysis of the Argentinian legal system regarding its protection of the human embryo. It will analyze from both the private and the criminal law perspectives.

Chapter on Argentina from Defending the Human Right to Life in Latin America
| Español

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations’ General Assembly passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, acknowledging the rights to equality and non–discrimination in its two first articles. It was a historic moment pervaded by deep sensitivity due to the injustices suffered after World War II, and there was a growing consciousness of the need to guarantee, for future generations, a minimum respect of those rights that were considered essential, based on the acknowledgement of the dignity inherent to all members of the human family.


The Fallacies of Legal Abortion in Bolivia
English | Español

We begin this article by clearly and expressly stating that legal abortion does not exist in Bolivia. Article 263 et seq. of the Penal Code establishes penalties of liberty deprivation for whoever causes the death of a fetus in the womb or her premature expulsion. But the mentioned code foresees abortion impunity.

Bolivia Defends the Nasciturus
English | Español

Although abortion in Bolivia is criminalized, there are three circumstances in which it is exempt from punishment. In 2005, the first attempt at decriminalization occurred, with the so-called “Law 810 on Sexual and Reproductive Rights.” Deceptively, they used the rights of women and adolescents to try to decriminalize abortion. This initiative included some provisions aimed at reducing the powers of parental authority over children, and the promotion of sexual relations from the age of 12 . Although the bill had already been passed in both houses (deputies and senators), without any consultation or socialization as our constitution requires in articles 241 and 242, protests and demonstrations by different civil organizations and the collection of signatures presented before the Constitutional Court influenced the outcome, and then-President Carlos Mesa was forced to veto it.

A Step Forward in the Pro-Life Movement?
English | Español

Art. 2633 of the Code penalizes those who cause the death of a fetus in the womb, or cause premature expulsion, stipulating such aggravating factors as age of the women and her consent or lack of thereof. … the Court held that “it should be noted that although the Constitution guarantees sexual and reproductive rights, as established by art. 66, the right to abortion is not equated with reproductive rights under that provision, so the exercise of sexual and reproductive rights does not imply the right to abortion.”


Brazilian Constitutional Amendment and the Right to Life from Conception: Analysis of the PEC 181/2015
English | Español

In December 2015, Senator Aécio Neves, presented a proposal for a constitutional amendment proposing that maternity leave in cases of premature children contemplate the days the newborn was in the hospital. But the controversy of this amendment was that in addition to that, it also included a provision that specified that life began at conception. In this report Alexia Duarte explains the real consequences and dissents of including the expression “life begins at conception”.

Bringing Abortion through the Back Door: A 2017 Case Study on a Recent Decision of the Brazilian Supreme Court
English | Español

Last November 29th, the decision of the Supreme Court of Brazil, Habeas Corpus 124.306 Rio De Janeiro,has awakened the debate about legal abortion in the country. The decision, which stems from a case involving individuals who were arrested after performing abortions, is part of a growing trend in the region to seek the legalization of abortion through judicial activism

Brazil Moves Forward to Abortion
English | Español

In just over two months, Brazil approved a bill that opens the door to the legalization of abortion. It was carried out under the protection of a rigid silence.

Report on the Human Right to Life in Brazil
English | Español

As in most Latin American countries, abortion is considered a crime in Brazil, as provided for in section 124 of the Criminal Code, which classifies it as a crime against life. However, as in the rest of Latin American countries too, the pressure to legalize this practice reemerges from time to time.


Accompaniment to Women with Vulnerable Pregnancies
English | Español

For 20 years, the Chile United Foundation (Fundación Chile Unido), with the purpose of contributing to a more humane country, through its various social initiatives and programs, focuses its efforts on welcoming and accompanying pregnant women in vulnerable situations, respecting, caring for and protecting the life of the unborn, strengthening the family as a fundamental nucleus of society and promoting, within organizations, both public and private, practices of Family Reconciliation, Work and Personal Life.

Effects of the Abortion Law in Chile
English | Español

In Chile, on September 14, 2017, the former President of the Republic, Mrs. Michelle Bachelet Jeria, enacted Law No. 21030 which regulates “The decriminalization of voluntary termination of pregnancy in three cases”, a rule that legalized abortion in Chile in three cases. In any other case, abortion is still today a punishable offense sanctioned by the Chilean Penal Code with imprisonment. This law not only decriminalized abortion, but also legalized it, by transforming it into a “medical benefit” that  citizens can request to the institutions authorized to practice it.

Bill on the Integral Protection of Women with Vulnerable Pregnancy and the Unborn Child
English | Español

We believe that those bills that portray abortion as a solution for women with pregnancies under vulnerable conditions are wrong for two reasons. First, no solution could lead to the direct and deliberate murder of an innocent human. The unborn child is a person and, as such, has equal dignity to a born person; therefore, they should be treated, human rights wise, as such. Secondly, abortion is not a solution for a pregnant woman because it unleashes a series of physical and psychological consequences for her health.

Abortion Legalization Proposal in Chile
English | Español

The proposal we are commenting upon was submitted in January of 2015 to the Chamber of Deputies. The Committee assigned for the initial discussion of the proposal was that of Health, which issued its report and voted in favor of the proposal in mid-September of 2015. By its vote, the Committee upheld the intent to legislate for the approval of abortion for the three original causes written into the proposal, but they were slightly altered from the original draft submitted by the Executive branch.

Abortion and the Differences Between ‘Leftist’ Governments
English | Español

Latin America is a region of contrasts in many senses: social, cultural, economic and even political. Despite this fact, it is observed – when analyzing different local legislation throughout the region – that there is a common trend for protecting the human right to life from the moment of conception.

Report on the Human Right to Life in Chile
English | Español

This paper aims to reflect the political, legislative and factual situation in Chile regarding the protection of the right to life, the reality of abortion, and the context of reproductive health. Thus, the goal is to provide relevant information for the social, academic and political actors that intend to know about and act on these topics, which, beyond doubt, are decisive in the foundations that guide Latin–American development.


The Constitutional Court of Colombia Endorsed Discrimination Against People With Disabilities
English | Español

In Colombia, voluntary termination of pregnancy is considered criminally reprehensible conduct. The Constitutional Court has repeatedly “held that one of the ways in which the legislator protects the life of the unborn is through the criminalization of abortion.” However, through Judgment C-355 of 2006, the same Court established that an abortion offense would not be incurred if the termination of pregnancy occurred in any of the following cases: (i) when the continuation of pregnancy constitutes danger to the life or health of women, certified by a doctor; (ii) when there is a serious malformation of the fetus that makes his life unfeasible, certified by a doctor; and, (iii) when the pregnancy is the result of a conduct, duly denounced, constituting rape (carnal access or sexual act without consent), abusive or artificial insemination or transfer of fertilized ovum not consented, or incest.

The Tricks of the Colombian Constitutional Court on the Issue of Abortion
English | Español

This article describes the process of decriminalization of abortion in Colombia as a result of the national jurisprudential decisions. The starting point of this process was the Court’s analysis in Ruling C-355 in 2006 and subsequent custody (guardianship) cases through which it quickly made “the jump from the decriminalization of abortion to the fundamental right to abortion.”

Report on the Human Right to Life in Colombia
English | Español

This case—as almost all other cases of this kind—remained the center of public debate during the months of trial and even after that, since the four– month delay—from the rendering of the ruling until its official publication – led to numerous speculations about the scope of the decision.


Cuba, Avoiding is Better than Aborting

English | Español

María Paula Croatto, an Argentine lawyer, in an interview with a former Cuban citizen and after an in-depth investigation, provides a solid foundation on how abortion was supported since the beginning of communism in the Soviet Union, how it was introduced in Cuba, and what is the reality afterward of so many years of communism that turns a blind eye to the abuse of this practice.

Dominican Republic

Dominican Penal Code: Endless Struggle to Protect Life

English | Español

Currently the Dominican Republic is one of the few countries in the world where abortion is totally prohibited. The Dominican Penal Code thus criminalizes it in its article 307,[1] which condemns anyone who by any means causes or cooperates directly or indirectly to cause the abortion of a pregnant woman, as well as the woman who submits to this practice.


The Right to Life in Ecuador
English | Español

Recent advances and setbacks in abortion and palliative care, by José Gabriel Cornejo, June 2022.

Constitutional Court of Ecuador Gives Way to Abortion in Cases of Rape
English | Español

A constant struggle for two years, the pressure of pro-life groups and political lobby prevented the approval of total abortion legalization in the country. Undoubtedly, this was a very great pressure, but it did not take into account the actual needs of Ecuadorian society. For example, this pressure establishes nothing regarding the most severe penalties for sexual offenders, which was contemplated in the COIP reforms in 2019. 

Amendments to the COIP (Organic Comprehensive Criminal Code) Regarding Non-punishable Abortion Rejected by Ecuador’s National Assembly
English | Español

On September 17, 2019; the amendment of art. 150 of the Criminal Code2 regarding non-punishable abortion was considered by Ecuador’s National Assembly.

Meeting of Women from Latin America and the Caribbean in Ecuador, 2018
English | Español

We present a testimonial written by PhD. Ivet Echevarría Velásquez who participated this year in the Second Meeting of Women of Latin America and the Caribbean in Ecuador. This reading offers a viewpoint with which will quickly and easily show the reader the coincidences between the meeting in Argentina described in the article on this site, “National Conferences of Women: A Critical Vision,” by Patricia Barrio de Villanuevabefore, and the one herein on the international scene.

Abortion and the Differences Between ‘Leftist’ Governments
English | Español

Latin America is a region of contrasts in many senses: social, cultural, economic and even political. Despite this fact, it is observed – when analyzing different local legislation throughout the region – that there is a common trend for protecting the human right to life from the moment of conception.

Report on the Human Right to Life in Ecuador
English | Español

This report presents the current legal and political perspective on the right to life in the Republic of Ecuador. As it will be discussed, the country is at a potential turning point, on the one hand anchored in a deep and clear tradition protecting the right to life, and on the other hand influenced by health policies and international pressures that seek to restrict this protection, under the argument of the sexual and reproductive rights.

El Salvador

Protection of the Rights of the Unborn in El Salvador
English| Español

Given this situation, this report aims to show how the Republic of El Salvador is a nation committed to protecting women and their children. This report also demonstrates that it is a nation that, far from wanting to oppose the rights of women and create conflict between their rights and those of their children, seeks the best for both. This is can be observed not only in El Salvador’s legislation, but also in the policies it carries out to achieve the goals reflected in its laws.

Both Lives Matter in El Salvador
English | Español

In 2013 was presented before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights the case of Beatriz, a Salvadoran woman with a high-risk pregnancy. In the present case2 the Supreme Court of El Salvador managed to defend not only life, but also the country’s sovereignty. The Court decision prevailed over the pressure exercised by international organizations that tried, again, to politicize the conflict to impose the abortion agenda in the poorest countries of Latin America. What is interesting about this case is that mother and child lives were preserved until the child’s natural death.


Guatemala Reacts to the ‘Abortion Boat’
English | Español

Guatemala has been the target of actions by the Dutch organization Women on Waves. This organization, founded in 1999 by Rebecca Comperts, aims to offer abortions for women with unwanted pregnancies by providing them with and teaching them to use abortifacient pills. Its modus operandi is to position a boat in international waters – in front of countries where abortion is penalized – and bring women seeking abortions onto the boat. Thus the laws of the nation the ship belongs to will apply, not the laws of the countries the women are from. The ship comes from Austria, where abortion is permitted.

The Protection of Life in Guatemala in 2015
English | Español

It is important to study how the State of Guatemala has regulated and protected, through the Political Constitution of the Republic, the international and internal standards of human rights, the fundamental right of human life; and more importantly, to identify the moment when, in Guatemala, a new life is worthy of the state’s protection.


Shield Against Abortion in Honduras
English | Español

Conception is the beginning of a human life. This is an irrefutable scientific fact, backed by decades of scientific research.[1] However, for decades, the global abortion agenda has brought together efforts focused in the first instance on the decriminalization of abortion and then on the legalization of it in all countries of the world. Since the legalization of abortion on demand in the former Soviet Union in November 1920,[2] an avalanche of political agitation has arisen to promote this act that despises human life and dignity in its earliest stages of development.


The Right to Life in Honduras: A Dialectic Tension Generated on the Figure of Abortion
English | Español

The scope of the right to life has been theorized on by the International Law of Human Rights (ILHR). This admits the possibility of a multiplicity of intellectual processes that could claim to explain and analyze the different phenomena that occur around this right in concrete realities. Abortion is one of the main issues that lend tension to the legal, social and cultural dialectic of our country in relation to the right to life, since it involves not only a debate on public health issues such as welfare services, it has also been approached from the perspective of human rights as the main focus to claim its decriminalization. In this way, it is a topic that generates not only ideological divisions but has even led to the polarization of our society. This article aims to elucidate the panorama of the right to life in Honduras, based on the legal and social events that have occurred around the right in recent times, employing an informative-analytical technique will be used.

Chapter on Honduras from Defending the Human Right to Life in Latin America
English | Español

Both the Honduran Constitution and other national norms, recognize the rights of the unborn child, considering him as a human person and granting him the legal protection he deserves as such. Article 67 of the Constitution of the Republic of Honduras establishes that “the one who is about to be born, shall be considered born for anything that favors him within the limits established by law”, recognizing the fundamental value of the unborn child’s life, his existence as a person and his patent state of defenselessness requiring special protection by the state. Furthermore, the Constitution establishes that the right to life is inviolable and that this right belongs to all, without any distinction due to race, color, sex, religion, economic standing, health, or any other condition (article 60). Articles 61 and 65 also guarantee the inviolability of the right to life.


Abortion does not force you to abort but in Mexico, they want to force us to kill
English | Español

In September 2021, several relevant events took place in Mexico, beginning with the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) which resolved three actions of unconstitutionality that we will analyze here.

Mexico Against Abortion
English | Español

The Latin American reality regarding abortion is also reflected in Mexico. The debate rotates around the decision for the life or death of a third party. This article aims to clearly convey the current situation in Mexico in relation to the phenomenon of abortion. We will start from the legal field to face, later, the social dimension that it has taken in the recent history of the country. Finally, in honor of Women’s Day, as women we will conclude with a personal call for each reader to become an agent of the change they want to see in their family, in their country and in the world.

Details About the Latest Debate on Abortion at the Mexican Supreme Court
English | Español

On September 24, 2013, a 41-year-old Mexican woman was treated at a Public Hospital. There she was informed that she was pregnant and that her pregnancy was considered a high risk because she had undergone surgery before, as well as because of her advanced age and weight. However, she overcame some medical complications and was 16 weeks pregnant when, on October 30, she received results from a genetic test of the unborn that indicated that the unborn had Klinefelter syndrome. This syndrome prevents the full development of the genitals at puberty but does not prevent the person from being self-sufficient.

The Legislative Project on the Protection of Pregnant Women in Mexico
English | Español

Since 2007 abortion is legal in Mexico City, and it can be done up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The decriminalization of abortion was promoted as a way to decrease the high maternal mortality rate, as a result of the access to illegal and underground abortions in the city. Also, the decriminalization of abortion was presented as an alternative for women that face an unexpected pregnancy

Chapter on Mexico from Defending the Human Right to Life in Latin America
English | Español

The right to life is usually used to refer to that primary and essential right without which no other right could exist. More specifically, with regard to this right, the Inter–American Court of Human Rights has stated that it is a “fundamental right, and its exercise is a prerequisite for exercising every other right. If it is not respected, all other rights are meaningless. By virtue of the fundamental character of the right to life, any approach restricting it is inadmissible.”


Nicaragua: Report on the Right to Life
English| Español

Title IV of the Constitution called “Rights, Duties, and Guarantees of the Nicaraguan People”, in its first chapter, begins with a list of all the rights. Article 23, the first of that chapter establishes: “The right to life is inviolable and inherent to the human person. In Nicaragua, there is no death penalty”. Following the constitutional logic, we can affirm that the right to life is the first right that needs recognition to give rise to the recognition of other rights. Among these other individual rights, the Constitution numbers individual freedom, security, recognition of the personality and legal capacity.


Panama: When the Giant Awakens
English | Español

What is the first thing you think of when you read a headline with the name “Panama”? The scenarios where we have been able to ask this same question are varied, and the most popular answers are usually the Panama Canal, beaches, the Panama Papers, etc. It is important to note that on November 4, 1903, Panama was declared an independent and sovereign territory, under the name of the Republic of Panama. You cannot talk about Panama apart from its citizens. A land that is characterized not only by its Caribbean beaches, but also by its supportive and early risers who, working hard, aspire one day for Panama to become a first world country.


Paraguay: A culture that respects Life
English | Español

When we talk about life, a fundamental principle on which the other rights are based, and what it represents in the legal, philosophical and cultural sphere in Paraguay, we can recognize that its protection from conception to natural death has been a fundamental axis fully installed since he assumed the rule of law model, especially in the democratic era that began with the 1992 constitution.

International Pressure for Decriminalizing Abortion in Paraguay
English | Español

The history of Paraguay has been characterized by conflict and isolation in relation to its neighboring countries. In more than one instance, Paraguayan people had to move on without their neighbor’s cooperation, which has contributed to developing a strong culture and a profound national identity.

Chapter on Paraguay from Defending the Human Right to Life in Latin America
English | Español

This paper will deeply analyze the following two areas in which legal development is intimately linked to the understanding each nation has about human dignity: (1) the protection of the right to life in general and (2) the issue of abortion in particular.


The Right to Life in Peru: A Legal, Judicial, and Political Report
of the Last Five Years (2015-2020)

English | Español

The authors analyze the Peruvian situation in recent years in relation to the protection of the right to life. This right, which the state is obligated to protect, has been diminished on different occasions by external and internal influences that the authors seek to analyze from the legislative, judicial and political contexts. Thus, different contemporary events are examined, such as the presentation of bills, lawsuits and media campaigns, which, in the authors’ opinion, would cause a direct violation of the protection currently enjoyed by the right to life.

Peru and Emergency Oral Contraceptives
English | Español

In 2016, the Peruvian Government was sued before the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), through different NGO’s led by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), Demus, Peace and Hope, and Promsex.

Defending Lives in Peru: A Holistic View of Legislation, Jurisprudence, and Tradition
English | Español

The Peruvian Government, as part of the International Community and as a Latin American country, has a long history in the protection of the Right to Life, beginning at the earliest stages of human and ending at death. This report aims to deliver a panorama of the Right to Life in Peru in a holistic perspective from the standpoint of not only the birth of a baby, but also that of the woman giving birth. The report also offers legislative initiatives that enhance the double protection aforementioned, which is essential for the integral development of a healthy and just society. The discussion of this subject, through legislation and Court’s decisions, will direct the reader to the remark on how international pressure conditions Peruvian society to live against their protective traditions of life.

Peruvian Congress Debates Bill to Decriminalize Abortion
English | Español

On September 26, 2014, the bill No. 3839-2014-IC was introduced in the Congress of the Republic of Peru. This was a legislative initiative to decriminalize abortion in cases of pregnancies resulting from rape, artificial insemination, or transfer of eggs without consent. After a long debate the bill was shelved in the Committee on Justice and Human Rights of the Congress.


Administrative Legal Challenge to the Regulation of Voluntary Abortion in Uruguay
English | Español

In October 2012, the National Congress of Uruguay enacted and issued a law legalizing the voluntary termination of pregnancy within the first 12 weeks of gestation.

Conscientious Objection and the Law Concerning Abortion
English | Español

The law recognizes in Article 11 the right to conscientious objection for those who are bound by the law to participate in abortion procedures and sets parameters for the exercise thereof.

Defending the Human Right to Life in Uruguay
English | Español

The most important modification of the law in Uruguay recently was the law that provided for “voluntary interruption of pregnancy.”


A Legal Perspective on the Human Right to Life in Venezuela
English | Español

Alcíbades Mendez offers a legal perspective on the right to Life of the unborn and polcies that have been addressed in the country that are incompatible with this right. The analysis, though properly legal, starts out through its reflection on the profound nature of the subjects studied. His analysis together with the opinion of Venezuelan civil law experts, helps the reader to have a complete idea of the legal framework, policies and  tradition on the right to life held in this country.