1st Edition

Abortion and Democracy Contentious Body Politics in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay

Edited By Barbara Sutton, Nayla Luz Vacarezza Copyright 2021
    276 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Abortion and Democracy offers critical analyses of abortion politics in Latin America’s Southern Cone, with lessons and insights of wider significance. Drawing on the region’s recent history of military dictatorship and democratic transition, this edited volume explores how abortion rights demands fit with current democratic agendas.

    With a focus on Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, the book’s contributors delve into the complex reality of abortion through the examination of the discourses, strategies, successes, and challenges of abortion rights movements. Assembling a multiplicity of voices and experiences, the contributions illuminate key dimensions of abortion rights struggles: health aspects, litigation efforts, legislative debates, party politics, digital strategies, grassroots mobilization, coalition-building, affective and artistic components, and movement-countermovement dynamics. The book takes an approach that is sensitive to social inequalities and to the transnational aspects of abortion rights struggles in each country. It bridges different scales of analysis, from abortion experiences at the micro level of the clinic or the home to the macro sociopolitical and cultural forces that shape individual lives.

    This is an important intervention suitable for students and scholars of abortion politics, democracy in Latin America, gender and sexuality, and women’s rights.

    1. Abortion Rights and Democracy: An Introduction 

    Barbara Sutton and Nayla Luz Vacarezza

    Part I: Comparative and Transnational Perspectives

    2. Abortion and Political Parties in the Southern Cone: Electoral Costs, Platforms, and Feminist Activists

    Cora Fernández Anderson

    3. Feminist Lawyers, Litigation, and the Fight for Abortion Rights in the Southern Cone

    Elizabeth Borland

    4. Orange Hands and Green Kerchiefs: Affect and Democratic Politics in Two Transnational Symbols for Abortion Rights

    Nayla Luz Vacarezza

    5. Neoconservative Incursions into Party Politics: The Cases of Argentina and Chile

    Juan Marco Vaggione and José Manuel Morán Faúndes

    Part II: Uruguay

    6. "Push and Pull": The Rocky Road to the Legalization of Abortion in Uruguay

    Alejandra López-Gómez, Martín Couto, and Lucía Berro Pizzarossa

    7. Women’s Bodies, an Eternal Battlefield?

    Susana Rostagnol and Magdalena Caccia

    Part III: Argentina

    8. Rights and Social Struggle: The Experience of the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion in Argentina

    María Alicia Gutiérrez

    9. Social Media Debate on #AbortoLegal in Argentina

    Claudia Laudano

    10. Transforming Abortion Access Through Feminist Community-Based Healthcare and Activism: A Case Study of Socorristas en Red in Argentina

    Brianna Keefe-Oates

    Part IV: Chile

    11. Between the Secular and the Religious: The Role of Academia in the Abortion Debate in Chile

    Lidia Casas Becerra

    12. Exploring Alternative Meanings of a Feminist and Safe Abortion in Chile

    Lieta Vivaldi and Valentina Stutzin

    Afterword. Embodying Democracy: Abortion Protest and Politics in the Southern Cone

    Sonia E. Alvarez


    Barbara Sutton is a professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York, United States. She is also affiliated with the departments of Sociology and of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies at the same institution.

    Nayla Luz Vacarezza is an assistant researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET), Argentina. She is affiliated with the Gino Germani Research Institute and teaches sociology courses at the Universidad de Buenos Aires.

    "Abortion and Democracy offers fresh insights into abortion politics in Latin America’s Southern Cone and its relationship to democracy and broader social movements. The volume brings together a mix of established and younger scholars and a range of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. The result is the most comprehensive analysis to date of contemporary abortion politics in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay – one that attends to both insider politics within democratic institutions and outsider politics of protest in a nuanced manner."

     - Christina Ewig, Professor of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, USA

    "This radical review of abortion in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay is an exciting, challenging and much needed collection for global body politics. The collection sweeps aside outdated views of abortion as confined to individual women’s struggles to rights and access to resources, to show how abortion is integral to collective bodies in protest, embodied resistance, and feminist practices of accompaniment and radical citizenship. I found it an extraordinary read. Theoretically and empirically it offers deeply contextualised understandings of abortion, offering new and important insights for transnational feminist studies and practice."

     - Wendy Harcourt, Professor of Gender, Diversity and Sustainable Development, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands.

    "Focusing on struggles to decriminalise abortion in Latin America, this book makes a seminal contribution to our understanding of contentious politics. Stressing the importance of historical and political contingency, it casts new light on the strategies, alliances and discourses deployed by feminist activists to advance the democratic case for reproductive justice. Absolutely necessary reading."

     - Maxine Molyneux, Professor of Sociology, University College London, UK

    "A brilliant and inspiring guide to abortion struggles in Latin America’s Southern Cone, this book has much to teach students, scholars, and activists around the world about creative feminist ways of doing politics that advance abortion rights while simultaneously building strong coalitions for social justice, public health, and accountable democratic institutions."

     - Betsy Hartmann, professor emerita of development studies, Hampshire College, Amherst, USA, and author of Reproductive Rights and Wrongs: The Global Politics of Population Control