A social media initiative promoting the decriminalization of abortion in Bolivia scored international attention and the country’s first feminist hashtag to trend widely on Twitter: #DespenalizaMiDecisión (or “Decriminalize my decision” in English).
To demonstrate the public’s support for legal abortion and women’s right to choose, the National Pact for the Decriminalization of Abortion in Bolivia, of which Ipas is a member, organized a “twitter storm” (“twittazo” in Spanish) as the National Assembly continues to debate a revision to the country’s penal code that would greatly expand women’s access to legal abortion. Anti-choice groups have been vocal in their opposition to this advance of women’s reproductive rights.
Advocates for safe, legal abortion throughout Bolivia and across Latin America—as well as some in Europe and Asia—joined the twitter storm with thousands of messages in support of decriminalization. Some tweets directed to Bolivian President Evo Morales reminded him that “poor, rural and indigenous women pay with their lives the cost of criminalization.” Abortion is only legal in Bolivia in cases of rape, incest and risk to a woman’s health or life, which is why unsafe abortion persists at the country’s third leading cause of maternal death.
“This initiative really pushed national assembly members and other authorities to tackle the problem of unsafe abortion,” says Claudia Columba, Ipas Bolivia communications advisor. “The enthusiasm and engagement we saw sets a precedent for cyberactivism in Bolivia.”
Follow Ipas Bolivia on Twitter: @IpasBolivia
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