Campaign to Roll Back Abortion Rights Fails in Uruguay

A national vote in Uruguay on whether to repeal the country’s law legalizing abortion failed to garner enough support.

On June 23, only 232,841 people (or 8.8 percent of all eligible voters) voted in favor of calling a referendum to repeal a 2012 law that legalized abortion in Uruguay. The vote fell far short of the 25 percent required to force a referendum.

Law 18.987, commonly known as “la ley de la interrupción voluntaria del embarazo” (“Law of Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy”), permits abortion on any ground in the first trimester and during the first 14 weeks in the case of rape and with no restrictions when a woman’s life is at risk or there are severe fetal anomalies. With the passage of this law, Uruguay became one of the few places in Latin America permitting abortion without restriction in the first trimester.

IWHC supported Mujer y Salud en Uruguay to advocate for reproductive rights and fight against the conservative efforts to roll back progress.

In an official statement, MYSU said the failure of conservatives to garner enough votes for a referendum is a clear sign that Uruguayan society is committed to moving forward. However, MYSU noted that more work needs to be done to improve the law and noted several obstacles facing women who require abortion services.

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