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Abortion is illegal in all circumstances, including rape and incest, whilst women are currently facing serious jail time for miscarriages in Honduras.

Honduras’ total ban on abortion in all circumstances puts women and girls in danger and violates their rights, Human Rights Watch said today (6 June).

The web feature, “Life or Death Choices for Women Living Under Honduras’ Abortion Ban,” shares stories of Honduran women confronting the cruel effects of the abortion law.

They include a woman forced to bear her rapist’s child; a woman facing jail after having a miscarriage; Women who experienced complications from clandestine abortions; A pro-choice pastor who has faced death threats for her activism; A doctor who cannot always act in her patients’ best interests; and women who share information about safe abortion in secret through an anonymous phone line.

“Banning abortion does not stop it, but it forces women and girls to put their health and lives at risk to end pregnancies behind closed doors, in fear and desperation and without medical care,” said Margaret Wurth, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Honduras’ draconian law is leading to enormous suffering among women and girls and their families.”

The country’s criminal code imposes prison sentences of up to six years on women and girls who induce abortions and on medical professionals who provide them. The government also bans emergency contraception, or the “morning-after pill,” which can prevent pregnancy after rape, unprotected sex, or contraceptive failure.

There is a global trend toward expanding legal access to abortion. A landmark 2018 referendum in Ireland and a pivotal 2017 decision to ease an abortion ban in Chile are recent examples. Between 2000 and 2017, 27 countries expanded access to abortion. Read more

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