As the legal abortion debate gains traction in Argentina, artist Joaquin Lavado – known as Quino – has criticized anti-abortion groups for hijacking Mafalda, his most famous creation.
"Images showing Mafalda wearing a blue scarf, which symbolizes opposition to the voluntary interruption of pregnancy law, are spreading. I don't authorize it; it doesn't represent my stance, and I demand it be removed," Quino wrote in a public statement.
In Argentina, blue has come to represent the anti-choice, or 'pro-life,' movement. By contrast, the color green has been adopted by those who support women's right to choose since 2003.
"I have always accompanied human rights causes in general, and the human rights of women in particular, to which I wish luck in their demands," Quino said. Critics were quick to point out that Quino's statement doesn't necessarily mean he is in favor of legalizing abortion.
Informamos que Quino no se manifestó a favor ni en contra de la legalización del aborto. Sólo, siempre y explícitamente a favor de los derechos de las mujeres. Por lo tanto, todas las manifestaciones que se le atribuyen en las redes al respecto no son propias ni oficiales.— Mafalda (@MafaldaDigital) 19 de julio de 2018
"Quino didn't speak in favor or against the legalization of abortion. Only, always and explicitly in favor of women's rights. Therefore, any image in social media regarding this are not his own nor official," says Mafalda's official Twitter account.
An image of Mafalda wearing a blue scarf, which has gone viral, reads "Let's save both lives" – the anti-abortion campaign motto in Argentina. Some posts include a quote attributed to Quino – "Don't put her in a green scarf because her color is light blue" – words he denies are his own.
The voluntary interruption of pregnancy law was recently greenlighted by the House of Representatives after much controversy. Conservative sectors of Argentine society still fiercely oppose the legalization of abortion.
The Senate is due to anounce its final decision on August 8.