Latin America Refuses to “Choose”

Latin America Refuses to “Choose” August 11, 2007

Time Magazine’s latest article titled “Abortion Under Siege in Latin America” decries the author’s and secular feminists’ sense of betrayal in the latest socialist and leftist regimes in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Chile that not only have refused to liberalize the abortion laws, but in some cases have made the laws stricter. Those interviewed credit the deep cultural revulsion towards abortion that is fostered by Latin America’s Catholic influence and traditional machismo.

Despite awareness of such horror stories, says Julieta Ojeda of the Bolivian feminist group Women Creating, “if you ask the average person in the street, they will probably say they are against” liberalizing abortion laws. Some abortion-rights activists attribute this to such factors as the moral influence of the Church, which has helped convince leftist parties such as Morales’ Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) to trade away abortion rights proposals for concessions in areas such as economic reform. Others see it as another sign that the “new” Latin American left has not shed the macho attitudes of its forebears and their tendency to relegate women’s issues to the sidelines.

The author continues to say that “unless pro-choice advocates come up with fresher, more culturally aware tactics for their work in Latin America, ‘coming around’ will simply mean standing in place.” Let us hope for all families in Latin America that they do stand “in place.”

It seems that if American policies and secular feminist groups are pressing hard for Hispanic culture to change, pro-lifers in America can also place pressure on the governments to hold the line against anti-life policies. This certainly will have political ramifications for our next President since under the Clinton years, Bill and Hillary placed enormous pressure on the International community to accept pro-abortion policies with USAID. As the article states, indigenous communities are hostile to abortion policies because they feel they are part of a larger imperialistic attitude towards developing nations:

One is a widespread tendency in the developing world to associate abortion rights, like gay rights, with an imperialist agenda of the industrialized world. That’s especially true in countries such as Bolivia, whose indigenous majority suffered foreign cultural, political and economic bullying for five centuries before Morales, himself an Aymara Indian, was elected. Western feminism has had a condescending habit of treating Bolivia’s indigenous cultures as backward, without trying to understand the nuances of their outlook on issues like abortion — a word that doesn’t even exist in most of the country’s Indian languages.

Ironically at a time when Hispanics are targeted in the United States because of the illegal immigration debate, it is Hispanic culture that passionately is hostile to the anti-life culture that America exports abroad via Hollywood movies, and foreign aid/special interest groups. Let’s hope that the Hispanic population will impact pro-life policies in the US.

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