Mariana Assis

Postdoc Research Fellow

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Phone: +49 (0)203 379-5247
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276





Since 03/2021

University of Brasília

Senior collaborator researcher

Centre for Women's Studies

Since 01/2021

Federal University of Goiás

Assistant Professor of Political Science

Faculty of Social Sciences


Independent consultant, working for organisations such as CEJIL, WIEGO, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, IPAS, etc.


Dalhousie University

Post-doctoral researcher

Schulich Law School


Mauro Menezes e Advogados Associados


Processos Especiais


Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Special Legal Adviser


Current Projects

  • Public policy from below: The production of alternative models of abortion care by transnational networks of self-managed abortion
  • Whiteness in reproductive policies in republican Brazil


  • Law and Society Association
  • Latin American Studies Association
  • Brazilian Political Science Association
  • International Studies Association
  • Translocal Law Research Collective
  • International Research Collaborative on Self-managed Abortion in Law, Politics and Policy (Co-organiser)
  • Margarida Alves Collective for People's Legal Aid


Dr Mariana Assis joined the research group 'Legitimation and Delegitimation in Global Cooperation' in February 2023, is currently on leave, and will be a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre starting again in August 2023 until January 2024.

Research Project at the Centre

Activists as Experts in Reproductive Care

Self-managed abortion (SMA) is the sourcing and use of abortion pills to terminate a pregnancy outside formal healthcare systems. While the practice is today widely recognized as safe by medical institutions worldwide, it was not developed within them or by health experts. Brazilian women are credited as the first ones to use the medication misoprostol to induce abortions in the informal setting back in the 1980s. Decades later, taking advantage of this knowledge, feminist activists have carved the space for abortion care in places where it is restricted by law, stigma or lack of resources. Under this novel approach, SMA encompasses a wide range of interventions that include the provision of accurate and reliable information through hotlines, e-mails, telephone apps, online chats and forums; direct provision of medicine or referral to pharmacies or trusted suppliers; personal accompaniment and face-to-face interaction throughout the abortion. These interventions 'meet people where they are', strengthening their capacities to manage their abortions safely and effectively, at their place of choice. In this project, I examine how self-managed abortion activists, working in sites as diverse as Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe, produce knowledge about abortion care through direct action. In doing so, these activists challenge who counts as an expert in the field of reproductive care, defying hierarchies and exclusionary appropriation of medical and legal knowledge while also creating alternative models of public policy.

Research Interests

  • Social movements
  • Feminist political and legal theory
  • Gender and health
  • Human Rights


  • Global Scholars Academy, Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard University (2023; 2021)
  • FUNAPE - Programa de Apoio ao Jovem Pesquisador (2022)
  • New Voices Fellowship, Aspen Institute (2021)
  • Dissertation Writing Fellowship, Politics Department/New School for Social Research
  • International Doctoral Fellowship, American Association of University Women –  AAUW
  • Fulbright/CAPES, PhD studies in the USA

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Introduction to Political Science
  • Feminist Political Theory
  • Introduction to Public Policy
  • Contemporary Democratic Theory


Reprodução social como trabalho e condição de existência: entrevista com Silvia Federici (with Eliane Gonçalves). Sociedade e Cultura 25:e74680, 2022.

Social inequalities in utilization of a feminist telehealth abortion service in Brazil: A multilevel analysis (with Sara Larrea, Laia Palència e Carme Borrell). Frontiers in Reproductive Health 4:1040640, 2022.

Abortion Care in Times of Crisis: An Autonomous Feminist Model in Latin America and the Caribbean (with Oriana López Uribe, Ruth Zurbriggen e Verónica Vera). In: Psychosocial Perspectives on Community Responses to Covid-19. Routledge, 2022.

Exposing Abortion-Related Obstetric Violence Through Activism in Latin America and the Caribbean (with Sara Larrea). In: Obstetric Violence. Demeter Press, 2022.

Misoprostol on trial in Brazil: A descriptive study of the criminalization of an essential medicine. Cadernos de Saúde Pública 37(10):e00272520, 2021.

Abortion rights beyond the medico-legal paradigm (with Joanna Erdman). Global Public Health 17(10):2235-2250, 2021.

In the Name of Public Health: Misoprostol and the New Criminalization of Abortion in Brazil (with Joanna Erdman). Journal of Law and the ​Biosciences 8(1):lsab009, 2021.

“We Are in Quarantine, But Caring Does Not Stop”: Mutual Aid as Radical Care in Brazil (with Carolina Moraes and Juma Santos). Feminist Studies 47(1):639-652, 2021.

Strategic Litigation in Brazil: An Exploration into the Translocalization of a Legal Practice’. Transnational Legal Theory 12(3):360-389, 2021.

“Hospitals have some procedures that seem dehumanising to me”: Experiences of abortion-related obstetric violence in Brazil, Chile and Ecuador (with sara Larrea and Camila Ochoa Mendonza). Agenda 35(3):54-68, 2021.

Why self-managed abortion is so much more than a provisional solution for time of pandemic (with Sara Larrea). Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters 28(1):1-3, 2020.

Liberating Abortion Pills in Legally Restricted Settings: Activism as Public Criminology. In: The Routledge International Handbook of Public Criminologies. Routledge, 2020.