For more than a decade in Argentina it was denied to give a debate in the National Congress for the legalization of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy. In the eight years of the previous government of the ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the excuse was that society was not yet ready. However, it is also not respected, that in secondary schools, the law of Comprehensive Sexual Education must be applied in their classes.

Abortion in this country, as well as in the rest of Latin America, (with the exception of Uruguay and the Federal District of Mexico) exists clandestinely since the creation of our Nation. The criminalization of abortion kills. It kills adolescents and young people with fewer resources and puts the lives of hundreds of thousands of women at risk each year. It is a problem of social justice, public health and human rights. Argentina has three to five times more abortions in relation to the countries in which it is decriminalized, because the policies of comprehensive sexual education and prevention of unplanned pregnancies are deficient. In Argentina the percentage of abortion is three times higher than in the United States and five times than Sweden.

This year, finally, on March 1 in his opening speech at the session of the Legislative Assembly, the current President Mauricio Macri, gave the go-ahead for the Argentine society to give the debate in the National Congress. The law project for the voluntary interruption of pregnancy (IVE) was already written by the National Campaign for the Right to Safe and Free Abortion and on March,6,2018 for the sixth time it was presented at the Congress. The campaign of the green scarves has its beginnings in the years 2003, 2004, in one of the many National Meetings of Women that since 33 years ago are carried out on October in the country. A handful of feminists for women's rights thought about it, created it and supported it from the beginning.

Since 2015, and due to the high statistics of femicides quantified by the NGO ‘La Casa del Encuentro’ (in Argentina, a woman dies every 30 hours), it was the women's movement that made society aware of the importance of rights, importance of equity (in a broad sense) and the respect among women and sexual minorities. It’s in this context that the word abortion ceases to be a taboo for Argentine society, thus opening a way for other Latin American countries to also give a discussion about what it means for a woman to decide on her own body and above all, to decide without guilt, or oppression, to not be a mother.

The law project that began to be debated on March,18,2018 indicates the right that a woman can voluntarily interrupt her pregnancy until the 14th week of gestation and beyond that term when life or health of the woman is at risk , in cases of rape or serious fetal malformations, as well as Spanish law. It also establishes that the practices be held in public or private hospitals.

The first debate, with which it was approved at the Chamber of Deputies on June,13,2018 lasted about two months. By the Congress of the Nation they exposed people in favor and against the legalization (700 people in total). The framework of exponents was broad, that is, from the Ministry of Health of the Nation, which is in favor of legalization, to actresses, scientists, students, feminist militants, victims and more.

Finally on August,8,2018 after more than 12 hours in which the Senators of the provinces discussed on legal abortion or clandestine abortion, their representatives voted for clandestine abortion. The law that is still maintained in its National Constitution is that in 1921 the woman can abort if her life is in danger or when a pregnancy is interrupted as a result of a violation or an attack against modesty committed on a woman with severe psychological problems. However, many health workers are unaware of this right of women.

In Argentina there are no statistics for clandestine abortion, what really exist, are statistics formulated in Public Hospitals about probable deaths due to abortion.

A few days after the National Congress rejected the law probect on the voluntary interruption of pregnancy, three women died in public hospitals for complications after clandestine abortions. It is important to point out that those who refused to make abortion legal in Argentina did not propose parallel projects. The State also did not propose policies for women to stop abortions clandestinely, nor demands that in schools, in the most humble neighborhoods or in public hospitals, compulsory sex education workshops be held, as well as a broad campaign. of contraceptives. The Argentine State voted for clandestine abortion with the difference, that this time, the whole society, Latin America and other continents, know about this plague.

Women, men and sexual minorities in that country are challenged to demand a law that protects women from the greatest cause of death due to pregnancy. What remained in the air, is to think possible strategies of how to visualize this cause of death so that it does not happen anymore. The media, the image, the documentary works, the links with other countries can help to account, that the law that exists in Argentina, does not save ‘the two lives’, but supports the double morality in complicity with the Catholic Church .

Text by Irupè Tentorio
Translation from the spanish original text available on demand



'LA REVOLUCION VERDE' is part of the long term project on gender violence and women movements fight for rights 'Ni Una Menos'







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La Revolucion Verde

The Fight for the legalization of abortion in Argentina

Text by Irupè Tentorio

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