April 8, 2015

NEW YORK—The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) has been selected to join the Advisory Committee of the Latin American Consortium against Unsafe Abortion, or Consorcio Latinoamericano Contra el Aborto Inseguro (CLACAI). The Consortium is made up of activists, researchers, and health professionals advocating and promoting safe abortion in the region, which has some of the most restrictive laws in the world and where rates of unsafe abortion are extremely high.

In many Latin American countries, abortion is provided only when necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life or under other narrowly defined conditions. In three countries—Chile, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic—it is not permitted under any circumstances. Even where abortion is legal, access is often severely limited. As a result, women are often forced to obtain the procedure in a clandestine manner, from unqualified providers and under dangerous conditions. Of the 4.4 million abortions performed in the region in 2008, 95% were unsafe—contributing to maternal deaths and injuries.

IWHC works with local organizations around the world to guarantee women’s right to safe abortion and to expand their access to this service, by advocating for conducive policies and laws and mobilizing support. In Latin America, IWHC partners with groups in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Uruguay to make safe abortion legal and readily available. It has played a significant role in major advancements in the region, including in securing the landmark Montevideo Consensus in 2013, a groundbreaking agreement on sexual and reproductive health and rights that includes a call to revise restrictive laws on abortion.

As part of the Advisory Committee of CLACAI, IWHC hopes to step up progress in Latin America and to help ensure women and girls can realize their sexual and reproductive health rights. IWHC representatives will work together with the other members in providing counsel on the direction of the consortium, designing the work plan, and providing overall leadership.

For more information on CLACAI, see