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It was a busy Saturday morning at Marcia González’s church. A bishop was visiting, and normally she would have been there helping with logistics, but on this day she was teaching sex education at a local school.

“I coordinate activities at the church and my husband is a deacon,” González said. “The bishop comes once a year and children are being confirmed, but I am here because this is important for my community.”

For 40 years, González and her husband have pushed for broader sex education in the Dominican Republic, one of four Latin American nations that criminalizes abortion without exceptions. Women face up to 2 years in prison for having an abortion; penalties for doctors or midwives range from 5 to 20 years.

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