Global Lessons on Abortion: 9 Pieces from Women Journalists Offer Cautionary Tales for the U.S.


America is grappling with a recent surge of restrictive reproductive rights bills in states across the country. The culling of abortion and reproductive care may seem like a new challenge for the U.S., but the impact of these laws in other countries is well known.

Women journalists continue to cover different perspectives on anti-abortion legislation, and its ramifications, around the world. Their coverage creates a cautionary tale of how restriction impacts women, girls, and the communities they inhabit.


1. How Six-Week Abortion Bans are Fueling a ‘Radical’ Year for Abortion Law — Rosemary Westwood

A billboard in McAllen, Texas, in front of Whole Women’s Health. Photograph by Robin Marty/Flickr

28 states are proposing or considering abortion bans this year. Rosemary Westwood takes a look at the strategic reasons behind proposed state abortion laws and their potential to advance to the Supreme Court and dismantle the framework of Roe.

2. The Price of Senegal’s Strict Anti-Abortion Laws — Allyn Gaestel & Ricci Shryock

According to human-rights groups, nearly one in five women in prison in Senegal was imprisoned for infanticide — including some who got pregnant following a rape. Photograph by Ricci Shryock

Nearly one in five women imprisoned in Senegal was convicted of infanticide. Many see Senegal’s near-total ban on abortion as the reason behind the deaths of many newborns.

3. Alabama’s Anti-Abortion Law Will Affect Latinas in More Ways Than You’d Think — Christine Bolaños

Image Source: Planned Parenthood Action Fund

Latinx communities in the United States, who have a growing presence in the southern states, grapple with legislation that seeks to restrict access to reproductive healthcare services.

4. When Abortion is a Lifeline — Ana María Rodríguez and Eulimar Núñez

Laws that prohibit access to abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean often end up infringing on a woman’s basic right to life. Victims are usually the poorest in society, as observed during a recent trip to El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.

5. All These Six-Week Abortion Bans Are Likely To Get Blocked By The Courts. That’s The Point. — Ema O’Connor

Photograph by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

There is a long history of anti-abortion activists pushing for restrictive state laws. However, the current political climate and status of the Supreme Court changes the stakes. Take a look at the role these local state laws, and the pro-choice push-back, have on the national discussion of abortion and overturning Roe v. Wade.

6. Ireland’s abortion decision: a photo essay — Olivia Harris

Photograph by Olivia Harris

Ahead of Ireland’s vote to end the ban on abortion last year, Olivia Harris shared stories from the debate — from the harrowing experiences of women seeking abortion to the impact of the Irish Catholic church on policy and public opinion.

7. Criminalizing Abortion: Serving 30 Years For A Miscarriage — Amie Juhn and Sari Soffer

Women in El Salvador have been living with a near-total ban on abortion since 1997. The strict law even means that women who miscarry or have stillbirths can be charged with homicide.

8. Meet Christus, the US Catholic Health Chain Restricting Access to Reproductive Care in Mexico — Laura Gottesdiener and Amy Littlefield

Staff in Irapuato stand inside one of Christus Muguerza’s four ambulatory surgery centers. (Amy Littlefield / Rewire.News)

Prevalent, private Catholic healthcare in Mexico is breeding severe restriction on a wide range of reproductive health services.

9. Some say Argentina is in the midst of a feminist revolution. Activists are gaining ground in the fight to legalize abortion. — Erica Hellerstein

Tejiendo Feminismos (Weaving Feminisms) is a weaving group that aims to acknowledge and honor women and girls who have been killed in Argentina over the past decade. Participants also stitch slogans like this one, which is a call to legalize abortion. (Lula Munoz for The Lily)

The women’s movement in Argentina is putting a spotlight on issues impacting women, including gender-based violence and access to reproductive healthcare. After a bill legalizing abortion nearly passed last year, growing support for the movement keeps activists hopeful as new legislation reaches Congress next week.