It was brought to my attention almost two years ago that my framing of Ariel’s encounter in our TEMBR reportage as a cultural exchange glossed over the history of systemic restriction of women’s access to reproductive health in Ecuador and Central/Southern American countries. This framing allowed the possibility for it to be construed that the family is responsible for their ignorance (cultural), rather than being victims of a cruel system meant to strip them of their rights (systemic). Glossing over these conditions only perpetuates the erasure of the experiences of women, especially indigenous, in Ecuador.
For some context I suggest reading this article by The Nation from 2019.
The article explains that “Currently, the country’s (Ecuador) laws permit abortion only when a woman’s health is endangered or if a rape victim is mentally disabled. Nevertheless, clandestine procedures occur frequently. Doctors often report women exhibiting signs of abortion or miscarriage to the police, and prosecutors have initiated more than 370 abortion-related cases since 2015, sending numerous women to prison. In addition to imprisonment and deaths related to unsafe illegal procedures, Ecuador’s abortion ban, combined with endemic sexual violence, has effectively forced thousands of adolescent girls to become mothers.”
In addition, it also notes that “Systemic sexual violence paired with minimal access to sexual and reproductive health services means that women and girls are frequently forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.”
The intent of the article was to decentralize my voice from the article and highlight Ariel’s experience. Nonetheless, the article lacked purpose and context. In an effort to do better I am adding this editor’s note to explain why the article is problematic. I have no excuse for my lack of inaction for so long, I had a conversation about it two years ago and it got swept under the rug until the person who first brought it to my attention asked that I take action. I acknowledge that it should not be someone else’s responsibility to ask me to take such action, I can only attempt to know better and do better in the future.
I have donated the money I made from publishing this article to the Fundación Desafío. They are based in Ecuador working to increase access to contraceptives and fighting for women’s reproductive rights. You can read about their work here and likewise donate here.