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bbcSome countries in Latin America and Europe are slowly seeing changes in their abortion laws. It's a shift that should be celebrated as these traditionally Catholic countries have long had some of the most constrictive abortion laws in the world. Even more importantly, these countries are managing to shift the debate from the pro-choice/anti-choice quagmire that this country is stuck in to a critical look at women's rights as human rights.Colombia Last May, Colombia liberalized one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. The court ruled that: "abortion should not be considered a crime under three circumstances: when the life or physical or mental health of the woman is in danger, when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, and when severe fetal malformations exist that are incompatible with life outside the womb."(Center for American Progress) In a country with over 350,000 illegal abortions every year, this won't help everyone, but it goes a long way. The provision for mental health is one that anti-choice activists fight against in the United States every day.Monia Roa, the lead attorney in the case, used Colombia's integration of international human rights treaties into it's constitution to help fight the ban. Ultimately, the court ruled that the ban violated international human rights norms and therefore, the Colombia constitution. This precedent is huge for the other countries fighting to lift their own bans.PortugalToday, Portugal liberalized their own abortion laws. The Guardian Unlimited reports that this new law allows all abortions up to 10 weeks instead of the old law which allowed abortions up to twelve weeks only if "a mother's health was at risk; in cases of rape, a termination was permitted up to and including the 16th week." (Guardian Unlimited) Check out Feministing's post on this as well.BrazilBBC News has a story about newly appointed minister of health Jose Gomes Temporao who has announced that he wants to reexamine abortion law in Brazil in a health framework instead of a morality/religion framework. Although the majority of Brazil does not support liberalizing the law, he feels that it has been discussed in an incorrect manner and wants to try to change people's minds by approaching the issue from a public health standpoint.International human rights and public health are both innovative new ways that the pro-choice movement can fight back against anti-choice activists who care only about the fetus and nothing else. Lacking control over childbearing affects women's health, income, mobility, agency and a whole host of other issues not to mention larger community health issues around maternal mortality and having too many children. I can only hope that the pro-choice movement in the United States learns some lessons from these countries and finds ways to articulate a story about when and how basic human rights are violated each and every day, right here at home.Digg!