Academics have long been interested in transnational linkages among social movements. Yet one of the world’s most successful transnational movements—the movement to protect fetal life from elective abortions—has received surprisingly little scholarly attention to date. How did this movement begin? How has it spread across national borders? And what new sociolegal practices have been institutionalized as a result? Latin America proves an especially useful region for studying these questions, given that the movement has experienced heightened success in some nations (like El Salvador) and declining success in others (like Chile). To explain these cross-national variations, Viterna is currently collecting archival records, launching public opinion surveys, and conducting in-depth interviews with Latin American doctors, activists, and politicians, some of whom identify as “pro-life” and others who identify as “pro-choice.” This new project extends Viterna’s earlier work with Katy Fallon on gender, democracy and formal politics into a new domain—a domain where the way in which governments encode fetal rights into core legislation has profound consequences for state institutions, civil society, and women’s lives.
RECENT WORK ON GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN JUDICIAL SYSTEMS:
2014 Viterna, Jocelyn and Jose Santos Guardado Bautista. “Principios Legales vs. Discriminación de Género.” El Faro. November 17.