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Exercising the Right to Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy in the context of armed conflict

One of the central aims of this text is to overcome, in a first attempt, the lack of data regarding abortions and the armed conflict, and the obstacles women face when trying to access this procedure in those contexts.


What happens to women who intend to exercise their right to voluntary termination of pregnancy (VTP) in areas of armed conflict?

Several documents have been written about VTP and the obstacles of women to access it, but there are very few references on how the exercise of this right works in conflict contexts  This is precisely one of the central purposes of this text: to overcome, in a first attempt, the information gap about the VTP and the armed conflict, and the barriers women face when they want to request the procedure in these scenarios.

As a reader you will find two main findings: on the one hand, we find that the obstacles that persist in unarmed contexts so that women can access their right to the VTP are maintained and sometimes radicalized in spaces of conflict.

Those who seek to apply for VTP face ignorance, social stigma and bureaucratic barriers on a daily basis, limitations that become even more drastic in areas where armed actors are present. But, on the other hand, we find that the logic of conflict impose barriers of their own that are not necessarily the same ones that persist in unarmed contexts. The fear of the presence of strong social control mechanisms  imposed by the armed actors is an obstacle of the conflict that significantly limits the ability of women to access their right to the VTP.

In this context, based on the judicious review of secondary bibliography and interviews with experts working directly in conflict-affected regions, this document first characterizes some of the obstacles women face when seeking access to VTP in the midst of armed conflict. The research aims to leave open questions and problems so that, in future studies, the relationship between armed conflict and VTP can be explored and characterized in a more detailed way, emphasizing its multiple nuances and complexities.


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