A former minister of Argentina's governing party has sparked outrage after comparing abortion to femicide, claiming that activists from the #NiUnaMenos movement were guilty of femicide if they decided to abort of a baby girl.
During a campaign speech, Esteban Bullrich coopted the anti-femicide rallying cry "Ni Una Menos" or "Not One Less" to argue against abortion rights.
“Not One (woman) Less also counts if there is a baby girl inside ... not one less. Because they are also killing her,” said the Cambiemos candidate, as he was campaigning for Buenos Aires' Senate.
“I believe in life, I believe that the state has to prevent unwanted pregnancies with sexual education and by providing women with contraception,” he said during an interview with FM Blue.
Bullrich's comments enraged social media users who argue the comparison belittled the grave crisis of gender violence in Argentina and ignored the public health issues regarding clandestine abortions.
As President Mauricio Macri's education minister — a position he left to run for senator — Bullrich implemented massive budget cuts in the National Program of Integral Sexual Education, as well as to teacher training programs, criticized Mariana Carbajal, from the #NiUnaMenos movement, in a column for Pagina 12.
Countering Bullrich's claims, she also recalled that a woman can legally abort when the pregnancy is the result of a rape or when it puts her life in danger under the 1921 law — upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012.
However, between 360,000 and 450,000 women still have to resort to abortion in illegal and dangerous conditions every year, according to the Health Ministry's estimate.
Quoting a recent report by various rights groups, Carbajal said that the price of a box of misoprostol — a drug more and more commonly used to provoke safe abortions — skyrocketed during Macri's term, from over US$40 in November 2015 to US$170 in 2017.
Illegal abortion especially endangers the lives of women with no resources to abort in countries where the procedure is legal.
The femicide of a 14-year-old pregnant girl in Argentina last year gave rise to the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One Less) movement that saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets to demand an end to gender-based violence.