Good news! Uruguay just joined the club.
Latin America is home to about half of the world's Roman Catholics and the Church is opposed to abortion under any circumstances. But Uruguay, a country of 3.2 million people, has a strong secular tradition.Perhaps surprisingly, civil unions for LGBT folk are legal too.
The new regime is not perfect, of course.
Under the bill Congress passed, a woman can end her pregnancy during the first 12 weeks of gestation, but she must meet with a team of health professionals, who, by law, should discourage the abortion. The woman must then reflect on the decision for five days.Here we learn something of the politics behind the move.
"This process is complicated and legally unjustified," the nonprofit Coordinating Group for Legal Abortion said in a statement. "This means there's no recognition of a woman's right to decide freely about her life and her maternity."
The developments however come under the government of a president who is a doctor by training, Jose Mujica, and a deputy health minister, Leonel Briozzo, who is an obstetrician.There's a cool re-organizable chart showing Catholicism by country here.
. . .
Uruguay is now only the second South American country to legalize abortion, after English-speaking Guyana in 1995. Cuba, a Latin American nation in the Caribbean, did so in 1965 and procedures are also legal in Mexico City.
"The explanation is that Latin America is the last outpost of the Roman Catholic Church," Briozzo said.
By percentage of population, the top four Catholic countries are East Timor, Malta, Honduras, and Venezuela.
The raw numbers create a different list. Brazil, where 65% are Catholic, has 123.3 million adherents. Mexico is 83% Catholic with 95.5 million. Philippines is next at 81% and 75.5 million. Then the US at 24% and 74 million.
This news from Uruguay adds to the good news from Northern Ireland last week.
The cracks are appearing. Slowly but slowly.
For sheer religious misogyny -- outside the Islamic world, that is -- Philippines takes the communion cracker.
Abortion is illegal, of course, but the Church is adamant that Filipinos remain pig-ignorant on matters sexual.
Sensible people there have been trying for 14 fucking years to pass the Sexual and Reproductive Health Bill
The bill was first introduced some 14 years ago, but has been languishing in legal limbo since. It would extend sexual health education in school, make contraceptives more widely available and improve pre and post-natal care. The bill would not legalize abortion..
The local branch of Christian Sharia is having none of it. They've fraudulently labelled it an 'abortion bill' and insist that its passage will lead to promiscuity, infidelity, and MORE abortions.
And now election season is about to begin there and the bill will likely get sidelined again.
Ah well. Two steps forward and still playing Statues in Philippines.