Social movements and constitutional politics in Latin America : reconfiguring alliances, framings and legal opportunities in the judicialisation of abortion rights in Brazil
Title: Social movements and constitutional politics in Latin America : reconfiguring alliances, framings and legal opportunities in the judicialisation of abortion rights in Brazil
Author: RUIBAL, Alba
Citation: Contemporary social science, 2015, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 375-385
ISSN: 2158-2041; 2158-205X
One of the main innovations in the interaction between social movements and the state in Latin America since the democratisation processes is the use of courts as venues for social change and the intervention of social actors in constitutional politics. Drawing from the empirical study of the process of strategic litigation for abortion rights in Brazil, this paper aims to show what type of changes can take place when social actors set out to pursue a legal strategy on a highly controversial matter, and in a transitional context, where courts are in the midst of a redefinition of their institutional role in the political system, and movements have not yet been central actors in judicialisation processes. The study highlights how feminist organisations adapted their framing of the abortion issue and developed new alliances with legal actors in order to pursue a rights strategy and to interact with the constitutional court. It also points out how, when dealing with the abortion controversy, the Brazilian constitutional court (Supremo Tribunal Federal) expanded the legal opportunity for the participation of civil society actors and, in its 2012 decision that liberalised the abortion law, acknowledged the legal arguments advanced by social actors in this field.
Published online: 18 Oct 2016
Type of Access: openAccess
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