On the 13th anniversary of their founding, Argentina’s National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion held massive demonstrations Monday to celebrate the International Day of Action for Women's Health and support a legislative project to decriminalize abortions.
In rallies across Argentina, from the northern province of Salta to the southernmost Tierra del Fuego, Argentines gathered to promote the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy law, which would decriminalize abortions within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy in all cases.
The final debate is scheduled for June 13.
Martha Rosenberg, one of the campaign’s founders told local newspaper Pagina 12 “I think we have done a great work that we call the social decriminalization of abortion, which went from being a taboo, a stigmatized topic, to a priority political issue.”
"#28M Federal Scarves in #CABA (Autonomous City of Buenos Aires) in the National Congress! #LegalAbortionIsLife."
In Buenos Aires, a spokesperson read a declaration in which they affirmed, in reference to the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, “once again in the history of our country a scarf unites us in sisterhood.”
In the declaration the campaign also urged legislators to hold a respectful debate and criticized arguments against decriminalization in the form “of a religious or sentimentalist tendency with shocking impacts.”
As the legislative debate enters the final stretch, the church has increased its pressure on legislators. The archbishop of Buenos Aires, Mario Poli, called on legislators to defend “the life of the unborn innocent,” while the Bishop of Tucuman Carlos Sanchez asked each legislator to vote “for life.”
Furthermore, church authorities have been calling their district legislators to tell them what the church’s position is. According to Daniel Lipovetzky, coordinator of the debate in the congressional commission, the church “is taking a wrong attitude. An NGO can do that, but not the church in a secular state.”
Despite recent attacks by the church and the fact that preliminary vote counts show a tie, the campaign is optimistic abortion will become legal under Argentine law.