The project analyses the strategic use of rights and law in battles over abortion rights in Latin America – and the various effects of this lawfare between opposing groups. The growing scholarship on the interaction between judicial institutions and human rights in Latin America has mainly focused on socially progressive, rights-expanding forms of lawfare. Little contemporary research exists on the counter-progressive use of the legal field in Latin America to limit the human rights gains of recent decades. Taking rights to legal abortion as a point of inquiry in order to attend to the counter-progressive use of courts and other government institutions, this research projectwill analyse the nature, form, causes and particularly the consequences of lawfare in Latin America, focusing particularly on the creation of norms and judicial rulings, their implementation and effects. It will do this through comparison of a range of country-specific cases including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, El Salvador and two studies analysing regional and global dimensions and trends of lawfare around abortion and women’s health rights.

The transnational dimension is central to understanding both progressive and conservative lawfare. With a specific focus on lawfare around rights to legal abortion, our research project will analyze the transnational aspects of mobilization, networking and norm diffusion (and reactions to it) amongst Latin America social movements and within different institutions of Latin American states. In short, through this project we aim to advancethe broader field of socio-legal studies in Latin America that is concerned with law, social transformation and human rights.