December 14, 2015 — Reproductive-rights advocates in Latin America have faced harassment and threats for advocating for topics such as access to abortion care, contraceptives and sexuality education, according to a report Amnesty International released on Wednesday, AFP/Yahoo! News reports.
Amnesty International said advocates face "increasingly vicious smear campaigns" and threats from government officials and private citizens trying to limit discussion of reproductive health topics.
The report discussed several cases of harassment against abortion-rights advocates. In one case, abortion-rights advocates had their computers hacked, received threatening calls and had their cars vandalized after they supported providing abortion care to a girl, now 11 years old, who became pregnant as the result of rape. Authorities did not allow the girl to undergo an abortion.
Further, according to Amnesty International, the sole clinic offering abortion care in Mexico's state of Yucatan saw most of the staff resign amid a "brutal campaign" against the organization. In El Salvador, where abortion is banned, a "cruel harassment campaign" was launched against members of two women's rights organizations after they supported 17 women who had been jailed on homicide charges for obtaining abortion care.
Amnesty International's Americas Director Erika Guevara said, "Unless governments step up in their responsibility to respect [reproductive-rights advocates'] work and protect these courageous human rights defenders, this situation will continue to deteriorate dangerously in the near future" (AFP/Yahoo! News, 12/9).