Subproject 2

PI: Dr. Silvia De Zordo
Host Institution: Universitat de Barcelona – UB

Travelling to seek abortion care: abortion travel and support networks for pregnant people seeking abortion care in Europe and Latin America

REPROMOB – Subproject 2

This project aims to investigate reproductive mobilities related to abortion care seeking. It will explore the interconnections between reproductive governance, borders and (im)mobilities and trace how these are based on, or produce, specific kinds of reproductive stratifications and intersectionalities in two main world regions: Europe and Latin America.

This ground-breaking investigation will provide new data on reproductive mobilities, a growing global phenomenon, which is relevant not only from social sciences, but also from human and health rights and public health perspectives. More specifically, it aims explore the understudied experiences of women and pregnant people living in countries with restrictive abortion legislation, who have to seek abortion care far from their place of residence, particularly abroad, or via telehealth as well as the circulation of abortion medications. This project will thus provide a more in-depth empirical and theoretical understanding of reproductive mobilities and justice in specific contexts, particularly in countries that are becoming important hubs for reproductive services, such as Spain in Europe, and Mexico in Latin America.

Fotografía de un puente en latinoamerica

The project will be developed in two work packages, the first one focuses on reproductive journeys and the second one on (im)mobility and illegal practices: reproductive governance and transnational support networks. While the first one addresses people’s mobilities related to abortion care seeking, the second one investigates the legal and social barriers to access to abortion care and the social networks that allow people to overcome such barriers, including via telehealth and illegal means. The second work package investigates the legal, political, and religious debate on reproductive health and rights in all the countries involved in the project and incorporates the perspectives of the professionals working in the reproductive health services that will be involved as well as of representatives of organizations and policymakers supporting or opposing abortion rights.

The long-term impact of the covid-19 pandemic on people’s access to abortion services and medications and the related mobility restrictions that it entails will also be investigated.

The objective of this project is to encourage an engaged scientific and political discussion about reproductive governance and justice, stratified reproduction and people’s resistance to discriminatory legislation in different geo-political and social-cultural contexts. We aim to share our findings not only with scholars working on reproductive health and rights, but also with all the main institutions involved in the project (health services and organizations working in the domain of reproductive rights) as well as with policymakers, in order to contribute to the social and political debate on reproductive justice and rights in all the participating countries.


The REPROMOB team, based at the University of Barcelona (Spain), studies movements of people, pills, and knowledge about abortion across countries in Europe and Latin America. REPROMOB researchers are scholars from social sciences and cultural studies committed to sexual and reproductive rights, who aim to make abortion more accessible in Europe and South America.
Silvia De Zordo
Silvia De Zordo (PhD), social anthropologist, Associate Professor at the University of Barcelona.

My research interests encompass reproductive governance, abortion, and social/gender inequalities in Latin America and Europe.

My doctoral dissertation (2008) examined the impact of family planning policies on the reproductive and contraceptive behaviour of working class, black women in Bahia (Brazil).

As an Ellertson Fellow at Columbia University-Mailman School of Public Health-Dept. of Population and Family Health (2008-2010), I investigated health professionals’ moral and religious convictions and their perceptions of legal and illegal abortion in Brazil, more specifically in Salvador da Bahia.

I then continued to investigate this topic in Europe thanks to a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Grant at Goldmiths-University of London, and a Beatriu de Pinós Postdoctoral Grant at University of Barcelona.

I am currently the Principal Investigator on a research project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation on abortion related mobilities and self-managed abortion in Europe and Latin America (REPROMOB – PID2020-112692RB-C22).

From 2016 to 2022 I led a European Research Council-funded project (Stg 680004) on barriers to legal abortion and abortion travel in Europe:

My publications include the volumes Reproduction and Biopolitics: Ethnographies of Governance, “Irrationality” and Resistance (ed. with Milena Marchesi), published by Routledge in 2014, which was awarded the CAR (Council on Anthropology and Reproduction) year’s Most Notable Recent Collection in Anthropology and Reproduction Book Award, and A Fragmented Landscape: Abortion Governance and Protest Logics in Europe (ed. with Joanna Mishtal and Lorena Anton), published by Berghahn Books in 2016.

I also co-edited two Special Issues: “Re-situating Abortion: Bio-politics, Global Health and Rights in Neo-liberal Times”, co-edited with Maya Unnithan and published in 2018 in Global Public Health, and “ Demographic anxiety in the age of ‘fertility’ decline”, co-edited with Diana Marre and Marcin Smietana and published in 2022 in Medical Anthropology.

You can find more information about me and my publications here:

Bruna Alvarez

In 2017 I obtained a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​with research that analyzed maternity policies in Spain, including work and family reconciliation, co-responsibility between women and men in heterosexual couples, the reasons for having children and how people made reproductive decisions, funded by an FPU (AP2012-4629) scholarship, granted by the Government of Spain (2013-2017), obtaining the international doctorate mention.

Since then, I have developed two lines of research.

On the one hand, I am the principal investigator of several projects on sexuality and childhood through an action research project entitled SexAFIN, sexuality and childhood in educational communities, developed in Catalonia (Spain) and Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana (México), consecutively obtaining public and private funding.

On the other hand, I carry out research on reproductive mobilities -assisted reproduction, births and abortion- in Catalonia and on the northern border of Mexico, forming part of both Repromob subprojects: Reproductive governance and mobilities in Europe, North Africa, and Latin America: questioning reproductive justice and rights in a context of austerity and fertility decline funded by the Spanish Government, being the PI, Dr. Diana Marre (UAB), Dr. Joan Pujol (UAB) and Dr. Silvia de Zordo (UB).

Since 2019 I have been an associate lecturer in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and the Department of Anthropology of the University of Barcelona (UB), as well as a student counsellor of the Degree in Anthropology and Human Evolution of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). In addition, I supervise final projects for the master’s degree in Global Health from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

I have carried out several international research stays at the Center for Family Research (University of Cambridge, UK, 2014), Reproduction Research Group (De Montfort University, UK, 2015), Motherhood Project (Maynooth University, Ireland, 2016), Institute of Sciences Social and Administration (Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, 2020), Juárez Unit (National Pedagogical University of the State of Chihuahua, Mexico, 2020 and 2021) and Faculty of Business and Law (University of West England, UK, 2022- 2023).
I have directed several final theses in degrees and master’s projects, and I am supervising several doctoral theses. In addition, I am an evaluator for several national and international publications.

I have participated and still participate in several research transfer activities. For example, I coordinated the AFIN Publication between 2014 and 2015, I gave talks to entities and families about family diversity, sexuality and childhood, how to talk about death with boys and girls, and I regularly participate in the media.

My publications are available at, Google Scholar, or Researchgate.

Agnieszka Balcerzak
Agnieszka Balcerzak, (PhD), postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Cultural Analysis and European Ethnology at LMU Munich in Germany.
I hold a Master’s degree in German Philology from UAM Poznań (UAM Poznań) in Poland, a Master’s degree in Eastern European Studies and a PhD in European Ethnology from LMU Munich.

My research areas include transformation processes in (Eastern) Europe, social movements, affect studies, visual culture and gender studies with focus on (anti)feminism, reproductive rights and protest aesthetics. I am a member of several scientific associations, including the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF), the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA), the German Association for Empirical Cultural Studies (DGEKW), and the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health (ESC).

My latest publication is my PhD thesis on the polarised protest culture in post-communist Poland Zwischen Kreuz und Regenbogen. Eine Ethnografie der polnischen Protestkultur nach 1989 (Transcript 2020), awarded the PhD Prize of the Faculty for the Study of Culture at LMU Munich. My current research project is a comparative ethnological exploration of abortion stigma (de)construction drawing on research stays in Germany, Croatia, Ireland, Poland and the USA.

I am the co-organizer of the international conference Mapping Gender Struggles. Gender as a Field of Conflict in Contemporary Social Movements that will take place in November 2023 in Munich, Germany. The international conference is a co-operation between the Institute for European Ethnology and Cultural Analysis at the LMU Munich, the Women’s Academy Munich and the Commission on Women’s and Gender Research in the German Society for Empirical Cultural Studies (DGEKW).

You can find more information about me and my publications here:

Giulia Colavolpe Severi

I’m a PhD candidate in Social and Cultural Anthropology from Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona,  carrying out a research project on foetal images in obstetrics.

I hold a Master’s Degree from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and a Bachelor’s Degree from La Sapienza University (Rome).

Since 2020, I have been – and I am currently – holding undergraduate researching positions at the AFIN Research Group and Outreach Center, in the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, collaborating on different lines of research. Among these, the AFIN-ART applied anthropology project, recipient of the 1st “Why the World Needs Anthropology” prize in 2021, from the EASA Applied Anthropology network.
Prior to that, from 2017 to 2019, I have been working as a research assistant for the ERC-funded, Horizon2020 BAR2LEGAB project, conducting data collection about in-country abortion travels in Spain.

My expertise spans across different topics in reproductive health: assisted reproductive technologies (ART) (especially with donor conception); termination of pregnancy (particularly, its procedural barriers); and the management of pregnancy in biomedical facilities (especially the application of diagnostic ultrasounds).

Sara Larrea
I got my Bachelor’s in sociology at the Pontifica Universidad Católica del Ecuador (2008).

I also hold a Master’s in Public Health (2013) and a PhD in Biomedicine (2022), both by Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona).

My research interests include gender, power, health and social inequalities.

I am currently works as an independent consultant conducting research on abortion, domestic work and child malnutrition.

You can find more information about me and my publications here:

Alberte Verwohlt Hansen
I recently finished the joint master’s in advanced research in criminology at the University of Kent and the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
The focus of my master thesis was on abortion rights in Belgium, analysing the current legal framework from the perspective of health care providers with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, abortion travel and abortion stigma, for which I received a distinction at the University of Kent. Previously I graduated with distinction from the Free University of Brussels and Ghent University with a bachelor’s degree in the social sciences, specialising in sociology.

During my bachelor’s I also participated in the honours programme for students with excellent grades.

I am currently a part-time researcher at the Human Rights Centre at Ghent University, where I work on the ERC-funded project ‘IMPACTUM’: Assessing the IMPACT of Urgent Measures in protecting at-risk detainees in Latin America’.

Some of my other interests are the topic of migration, inequalities within the criminal justice system and the access of vulnerable groups to healthcare.

Lieta Vivaldi Macho
I am Lieta Vivaldi Macho, feminist scholar with a PhD in Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London, and an MSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.
I am also a lawyer and hold a diploma in Gender and Violence from the Universidad de Chile. Currently, I serve as an Assistant Professor at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado, where I direct the Law, Gender, and Social Justice Programme. Additionally, I work as an advisor to the National Institute of Human Rights.

My research is primarily centred around human rights, sexual and reproductive rights, sociology, law, biopolitics, and feminisms

I am also an associate researcher at the Faculty of Law of the Universidad Diego Portales and the Faculty of Philosophy of the Universidad de Chile. I actively contribute to various organizations, serving as a board member of the International Institute for Philosophy and Social Studies (IIPSS) in Chile, the Chilean Association of Feminist Lawyers (ABOFEM), and the Right to Choose Foundation in Chile, and the Centro Interdisciplinario de Políticas Públicas (CIPP) of the Universidad Alberto Hurtado.

You can find more information about me and my publications here:

Natalie's photo
Natalie Psaila Stabile
I am a medical doctor, specialised in Family Medicine, and I work as a private GP. I am also currently reading for a PhD in Gender Studies at the University of Malta, where I will be looking at how people navigate having abortions in Malta in a strong abortion stigma environment. Malta has a complete blanket ban on abortion unless it is in cases of grave risk of death.
In 2019, I co-founded Doctors for Choice Malta, which advocates for decriminalisation of abortion, as well as comprehensive sex education, and free accessible contraception for all. Along with a colleague, I provide information and support women before, during and after their abortion, through the Abortion Doula Support Helpline.

I published a sex education book, aimed at ten- to thirteen-year-olds, using child-friendly language and images. It discusses puberty, consent, gender, intercourse, contraceptive, and more. It is the first such publication in Maltese.

In 2023, I was listed as one of the BBC 100 women, in recognition of the pro-choice work that my colleagues and I carry out in Malta. I was also invited to speak at the European Parliament in 2024, during an event discussing the lack of abortion access in Malta.
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Suzanne Veldhuis
I am a general physician, graduated from the University of Amsterdam, and a feminist academic with a Master’s degree in Rural Development and Natural Resources (with honors) from the Health Department of the Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR). Currently, I am a PhD candidate in Ecology and Sustainable Development at the Health Department of ECOSUR.

My master’s thesis (2020) focused on the description of the autonomous abortion accompaniment model in Mexico, as well as on the trajectories, experiences, and opinions of accompaniers and the detection of access barriers for clinical abortion services. My doctoral research focuses on possible synergies between autonomous abortion accompaniers and pro-choice physicians.

I currently lead the project “Engaging doctors as agents of change to improve access to safe abortion in Mexico: an innovative network linking supportive physicians with accompaniers” of the Options Initiative of Grand Challenges Canada. This project investigates the effect of the newly formed Network of prochoice female physicians on its members in relation to stigma and knowledge, as well as the effect of interventions that seek to bring physicians and accompaniers together in Mexico.

I am co-coordinator of the book “Realities and challenges of medical abortion in Mexico”, published in 2022 by ECOSUR, and a recognized researcher at CISIDAT, a Health Research Consortium.

I have lived in San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas since 2013 where I have worked as a physician and researcher in various projects related to sexual and reproductive health and safe abortion.

In addition to my academic work, I am co-founder and coordinator of Red de Médicas por el Derecho a Decidir – Mexico, as well as medical supervisor for the international telemedicine abortion service of Women on Web.

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Eleonora Cirant

I am a documentalist at the National Women’s Union in Milan, a journalist and a doctoral candidate in cultural and social anthropology at the University of Milan Bicocca.

I have professional experience in historical research, oral history, conservation and promotion of cultural documental heritage. As a journalist I collaborate with several newspapers and I deal in particular with sexual and reproductive rights, gender violence, human rights.

I have published essays and monographs on topics including the history of feminism, sexuality and reproductive rights, and biopolitics.

Recent peer reviewed publications:
I microfoni femministi di Radiotre Rai (1978-1988), in: Paola Stelliferi e Stefania Voli (a cura di), Anni di rivolta.
Nuovi sguardi sui femminismi degli anni Settanta e Ottanta
, Viella (2023); www mi aiuti tu? Telemedicina, contraccezione e aborto in Italia, in: Lucia Gentile, Chiara Quagliariello, Rosanna Sestito (a cura di) Coronial.
Antropologia della riproduzione e delle sessualità al tempo del Covid-19, Franco Angeli, 2022.

I am committed to sexual and reproductive rights activism. In 2008 I was among the founders of the association Blimunde – sguardi di genere su salute e medicina, in 2018 of the Comitato per la contraccezione gratuita e consapevole and the Pro-choice rete italiana contraccezione e aborto, with which I actively collaborate.

In 2023, I was editorial coordinator and editor of La tua scelta zero ostacoli. Guida al tuo aborto libero e informato. A guide to your free and informed abortion as part of an inter-association cooperation project. I am part of the steering committee of Aidos (Associazione italiana donne sviluppo).