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  • "We will not allow setbacks. We are attentive and mobilized to defend what corresponds to us," expressed the statement of the Campaign for the Abortion of Legal, Safe and Free Law. | Photo: Pagina 12

Published 21 November 2019

Mauricio Macri's repealed the new Care Protocol for the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy (ILE), just a few hours after being published by the Official Gazette and the decision caused a national controversy.

Just a few hours after passing the protocol that facilitated access to legal abortion for girls between 13 and 16 years old in Argentina, the government repealed it. The decision  has generated strong differences within the coalition headed by still President Mauricio Macri, when there are less than 20 days left before he leaves power.

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Representatives from the different parties that conformed Cambiemos, the coalition that backed Macri, —Unión Cívica Radical (UCR), Propuesta Republicana (PRO) and la Coalición Cívica—, have plunged into the controversy amid the political transition that started on October 27th with the electoral triumph of Alberto Fernández and that will culminate on December 10th with his presidential assumption.

The public response was immediate. For instance, the Campaign for the Abortion of Legal, Safe and Free Law described as "arbitrary, illegitimate and shameful" the decision of the President to repeal the Protocol of non-punishable abortions. It also pointed out that this situation shows how the Executive Branch ends up "mocking the movement of women, lesbians, transvestites and transgender".

"We will not allow setbacks. We are attentive and mobilized to defend what belongs to us," the statement of the campaign warns, also signed by the Network of Health Professionals for the Right to Decide.

The legal interruption of pregnancy due to causes is contemplated in our legislation since 1921 and was ratified by the FAL ruling in 2012, the ILE protocol guarantees its implementation. #ILEyaesderecho

Another figure that raised his voice against the derogation of the Protocol was national deputy Pablo Yedlin, who is likely to become Minister of Health in the future Cabinet of Alberto Fernández.

"It is shameful what has happened in terms of health in these years and what happened yesterday with the protocol was an embarrassment," Yedlin said in a dialogue with Radio El Destape while expressing that this matter “is another shame in terms of public health of this Government."

The also vice president of the Commission for Social Action and Public Health of the lower house explained that it is not about the voluntary termination of pregnancy, but a public health situation in which a raped girl can access the termination of pregnancy, he explained.

"What the protocol does is update what is set in the Civil and Criminal Code, and what the Supreme Court has said in the FAL ruling," Yedlin declared about secretary of National Health, Adolfo Rubinstein, approval of the "Protocol for the comprehensive care of people entitled to legal termination of pregnancy," on Wednesday.

A good part of the bloc Unión Cívica Radical issued a statement too last night to support the measure promoted by the official. "We ask the President to support the resolution mentioned above, understanding that these actions must be framed in a public policy with a federal perspective of application articulated throughout the national territory".

The Ministry of Health Government approved the national protocol for the comprehensive care of people entitled to #ILE. A great step to continue advancing in the consolidation of rights and in the protection of public health with equity. https://www.boletinoficial.gob.ar/detalleAviso/primera/221438/2019112…

Rubinstein, a 61-year-old doctor, and politician has not escaped criticism himself from detractors. Argentinian daily Pagina 12 reported that Federico Pinedo, provisional president of the Senate, called his action "unconstitutional."

During the 2018 debate where the extension of the rights of pregnant bodies was discussed, conservative Pinedo said that it's too violent to maintain that lives can be eliminated because some want. "I find no difference between eliminating the life of an unborn child and one who was born," he declared. Rubinstein publicly declared himself in favor of the legalization of abortion in that debate.

Furthermore, another detractor of the Protocol, national deputy, Dina Rezinovsky went out openly to ask the secretary of Health to resign: "Rubinstein resolves to expand the national protocol to rule out children and destroy women. It is forgotten that after months of debate Congress gave a total rejection of the abortion law. I await his resignation and that this unconstitutional resolution be left without effect."

Senator Silvia Elías de Pérez and Deputy Cornelia Schmidt-Liermannm, joined this position. Schmidt-Liermannm tweeted: "Some officials, who swear on the Constitution, then violate it, running over human dignity. I say it for Rubinstein. I hope he presents her resignation."

How sad that some officials, who swear on the Constitution, then violate it, running over human dignity and leaving unprotected those who are not yet born. https://twitter.com/PinedoFederico/status/1197178502325374979 ...

Resolution 3158/2019 of the Ministry of Health of the Nation, better known as the new Care Protocol for the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy (ILE), remains in force since its repeal was not published in the Official Gazette of this Thursday. Despite the announcement of repeal and the rain of criticism against that announced measure, the official document was not published.

Pagina 12 reported that contradictory versions emerged from the halls of the government. Some argued that the protocol would not be annulled, versions that added that the one who became Secretary of Health, Adolfo Rubinstein, who put the first signature to the resolution, would continue in his post.

Others, on the other hand, assured that the rule that was canceling the resolution is already signed and that they did not have the time to add it to the Official Gazette. That version comes from sources close to Carolina Stanley, Minister of Health and Social Development of the Nation.

But there are also versions that argue that the delay in canceling the new protocol has to do with the strong internal pulls in the government lines, where there is no longer a verticalized control.

Even the fate of the Protocol seems linked to that of Rubinstein and vice versa. If the Protocol continues, the secretary also. If the Protocol is repealed, Rubinstein presents the resignation within 20 days of having to leave the position by decision of the polls, along with the rest.

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