“As Common as Daily Bread”: The Politics of Unwanted Pregnancy and Abortion in Bolivia’s Military Era, 1964–82
Drawing on medical records and oral interviews, this paper traces the history of unwanted pregnancy and induced abortion during Bolivia’s military era. Medical records reveal the frequency and severity of medical complications following abortion. Interviews with women; doctors and other medical personnel; government officials; police officers, and activists reveal the persistence of women’s demand for abortion, as well as a deep-seated social stigma surrounding the procedure. The paper demonstrates women’s tenacity in determining the contours of their reproductive lives, despite restrictive policies on and social attitudes toward abortion. This tenacity, in combination with broader trends, would contribute to changing the sociopolitical context of unwanted pregnancy and abortion in the 1980s and 1990s, following the return to democracy.
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