Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Social Inequality and Politics in Latin America

Paradoxically, Latin America has some of the most stringent legal restrictions against and highest rates of abortion in the world. The co-existence of legal restrictions and unsafe abortions affects society unequally. While middle- and upper-class women have the resources to go to private clinics, the poor must rely on unsafe procedures with detrimental consequences to their own health and that of the health system itself. The uneven and slow reform of legislation governing access to safe abortion seems to be out of step with public opinion. Fragmentary evidence from public opinion polls in several countries indicate a higher level of popular support for abortion under certain circumstances than what is allowed under existing national regulations.

This project aims to shed light on the political dynamics that support or impede reform of abortion legislation. The project will include a comparative legal study of abortion legislation in Latin American countries; a case study of the politics of abortion in four Latin American countries (Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Nicaragua), their discourse, strategies and alliances; and an opinion survey in each of the four countries under study.

The results are expected to contribute to public debate and support reforms underway or planned in several countries in the region.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, October 3, 2008

End Date

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


24 months

IDRC Officer

Cos-Montiel, Franscisco

Total funding

CA$ 851,826


North and Central America, South America, Chile, Mexico


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Claudia Dides


Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences

Institution Country


Institution Website