Maria Galindo
Mujeres Creando

 There is no bigger similarity than between a Right male sexist (“machista”) and a Left male sexist

We have never been surprised by the double standards of the Right to outlaw abortion and to have used that fundamental cause for women in Bolivian society as a mere smokescreen over its policies. On that occasion, we made a graffiti, “If goni[i] had uterus, abortion would be capitalized and privatized.” It has already passed 15 years since that time called “neoliberal” and we live in an  alleged process of change driven by the government of Evo Morales, but the issues concerning the status of women as subjects seems to be something of the past. They appear to be part of an absurd vicious circle where the arguments are just repeated. The Multinational Assembly has not even scheduled the issue, the statements of several Assembly members of the movement that fight for Socialism are the same as those issued by the men of the Right and the Church and we are forced to make another graffiti as if time had not changed: “If evo[ii]  became pregnant, abortion would be nationalized and written into the Constitution.”

The criminalization of abortion does not restrain the abortion; it only provides a hypocritical double standard discourse on abortion by the State, the Church and the society as a whole. The Bolivian women, we, abort with or without penalty. The difference is that in terms of   criminalization of abortion only women who have $ 400 can enjoy a safe abortion that does not threaten their lives and they want find themselves in an intimidating situation.  Criminalization of abortion affects primarily younger women, the poorest women, and especially indigenous women that are desperately seeking then for an unsafe abortion, susceptible to infections, bleeding and in many cases even to a rape by the abortionist who is permitted to sign documents that absolve him from any responsibility.

The abortionists in Buenos Aires[iii] or at the cemetery where they are authorized to deliver a speech, they deliver a cynical guilt-speech that blame the women, as a consequence  she starts only to be stressed out and self-blames herself. Criminalization of abortion is to show disdain for the lives of these poor, young, indigenous women.


I aborted for Evo. Signature: the female coca leaves growers (Mujeres Cocaleras) from the Chapare region in Bolivia

It is unacceptable that women’s organizations as the Federation of Women Coca Leaves Growers Women or The Bartolina Sisa Federation of Peasant Women (Federación de Mujeres Cocaleras o la Federación de Mujeres campesinas Bartolina Sisa) do not advocate abortion rights. They see and have seen their own colleagues aborting induced by leaders who sexually harass young women who join social organizations. That’s why we make the graffiti,  “I aborted for Evo. Signature: the female coca leaves growers from Chapare” on the wall of  the National Art Museum in Plaza Murillo (La Paz, Bolivia). That graffiti is not for the president, but for the male sexist (“machista”) attitude to which the women’s social movements that accompany this  governmental process have been subordinated.


It is not possible to decolonize without depatriarchalisation

In addition to the binding arguments about the value of womens lives we have to take into consideration political arguments that directly relate to the alleged time of decolonization in which we live. The criminalization of abortion is a form of colonization of the bodies of women by the patriarchal State. Motherhood as cultural imposition and as tyrannical mandate of reproduction is a form of unacceptable submission and does not matter if the demand is coming from capitalism, socialism or from the indigenous community.

It is doubly serious and contradictory that a government whose fundamental principle is decolonization policy seeks to understand this concept within the limits   of male interests that exercise patriarchal power. Decriminalization of abortion means to decolonize our bodies and to return to women the right to decide. Decriminalization of abortion is to make motherhood a free and sovereign choice and not a cultural mandate  for  reproduction. This opens the possibility for women to establish the conditions for a motherhood that ensures to children that the State and the father will assume their responsibility. If there is no space even to discuss, or to review these basic questions, then of which decolonization process are we talking about?

This is how “Mujeres Creando” (“Women building”) responded to the refusal to discuss decriminalization of abortion in the multinational assembly with these graffiti in various public offices.

Translated from Spanish by Claudia Caceres






[i] goni is the nickname of fomer, from the Right, president of Bolivia, Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada.

[ii] evo refers to Evo Morales.

[iii]  Since Galindo uses in Spanish la Buenos Aires  it can be a reference to the city of Buenos Aires and to an  informal hospital there (remark by the translator).