IACHR: sexual and reproductive rights & the secular state

Argentina must review legislation that is discriminatory, such as the criminalization of abortion and the lack of access to health care for women who decide to interrupt their pregnancies. The IACHR also put itself at the disposition of states in the region to assist with establishing a clear separation between the secular state and religious beliefs.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reiterated in a public statement that states have the obligation to review legislation that may have discriminatory effects on the exercise of sexual and reproductive rights. It did so in reference to Argentina, after a hearing requested by CELS, Amnistía Internacional Argentina, ELA and Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir was held in early May.

The Commission noted that “although voluntarily terminating a pregnancy is legal in the country under certain circumstances, women face serious obstacles to access such a practice on equal, non-discriminatory terms.” For that reason, in the context of the congressional debate taking place on the legalization of early-term abortions, it requested that the state “remind legislators of the international standards on this issue.”

With regard to the hearing entitled Freedom of Religion and the Secular State in Latin America, the participating organizations stressed the need to establish “the clear separation between the state’s duty to protect the human rights of people under its jurisdiction and the existence and influence of religious groups.” Interference can be seen precisely with regard to sexual and reproductive rights, as well as the rights of Afro-descendant and LGBTI persons. The IACHR committed itself to monitoring and following up on this issue, and it offered to provide technical assistance to states.


The full statement can be read here.