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  • Argentine women with green handkerchiefs demonstrate against the rejection of the law legalizing abortion in their country, Cannes, France, May 18, 2019.

    Argentine women with green handkerchiefs demonstrate against the rejection of the law legalizing abortion in their country, Cannes, France, May 18, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 28 May 2019

Social movements and citizens are demanding Congress approve women’s right to legal, safe and free abortion in Argentina.

Argentina's Safe and Free Legal Abortion Campaign will present its 'voluntary pregnancy interruption' bill to its house of representatives ​​​Tuesday. The house approved the measure last June, but it was barely overruled by the Senate two months later. This is the eighth time the proposal has gone to Congress.

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Using the momentum of the International Day of Action for Women's Health, advocates of the bill that could allow women an abortion under any circumstance up until 14 weeks of gestation, will demonstrating in the Congress Square of Buenos Aires, May 28 at 5:30p.m. when legislative debate begins on the measure.

To honor the first time Argentines presented the legal initiative to defend women's rights and health in 2007, social organizations will stream a live press conference outside of the house where a music festival will also be held where more than 400 artists are expected to participate.

About 500,000 Argentines abort every year, 450,000 of these are clandestine and unsafe. Abortions have become the main cause of maternal death for the past thirty years, according to the nation's health ministry.​​​​

Due to legal restrictions, 298 Argentine teens between 15 and 18 years old were forced to continue their pregnancies in 2016. ​​​​​​Eight girls between the ages of 10 and 14 are forced to become mothers every day in Argentina.

If the 'safe and legal' abortion bill is rejected again it is estimated that there will be 174 more maternal women deaths and about 98,500 hospital admissions for clandestine abortion-related complications in the next two years.

The meme reads, "In the Congress, streets and networks, I vote legal abortion. Sex education to decide, contraceptives to not abort, legal abortion to not die."

Since 1960, more than 30 nations have made pregnancy terminations legal in some way. In Argentina, however, the law regulating abortions came into effect in 1921 and is obsolete. Women are currently only allowed an abortion in the case of rape or if their health is in danger.

Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, China, Australia and the United States are some of the countries in which abortion is legal for up to 12 to 14 weeks.

Cuba and Uruguay are currently the only two Latin American countries that have made abortions legal under any circumstances. In Uruguay, the percentage of abortion-related deaths has fallen from 37 to eight percent since its legalization in 2012.

The worldwide campaign in favor of women's rights uses the green handkerchief as a symbol of struggle for the legalization and decriminalization of abortion.

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