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  • Women request safe, legal and free abortion in front of the Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Feb. 19, 2018.

    Women request safe, legal and free abortion in front of the Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Feb. 19, 2018. | Photo: EFE

Published 19 February 2019

Thousands seized the streets Feb. 19 to demand women's right to legal, safe and free abortion.

Social movements and citizens demonstrated Tuesday for a woman’s right to legal, safe and free abortion in Argentina. In Buenos Aires, the National Day of Action for the Abortion Rights includes a march to Congressional Plaza, where green scarfs, the symbol of abortion rights, will commemorate the anniversary of the ‘Pañuelazo Verde’, a huge mobilization that took place one year ago.

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"The green scarf has become an international icon of feminism and collective efforts to achieve more just and egalitarian societies. The green tide's force made visible the need to guarantee acquired-rights, which continue to be violated day after day, with the complicity of different state powers and political leaders, as well as with the interference of fundamentalist sectors and ecclesiastical institutions in the design and implementation of public policies,” the National Campaign for Legal, Safe and Free Abortion said, explaining that such interference undermines the establishment of a secular state and goes “against the freedom of thought and conscience."

In addition to demanding the legalization of voluntary abortion, the Argentine Green Scarf gathering is also aimed at requesting the implementation of the Comprehensive Sex Education Law in schools throughout the country, the National Program for Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation and the Protocol for the Comprehensive Care in Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Cases.

Green Scarf mobilizations will be held simultaneously in some 100 Argentine cities in which women are expected to attend with banners saying “Sexual education to decide, birth control to not abort, legal abortion to not die!”.

"Feb. 19, Green Action Day for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion. Women of the country are gathering in streets and getting ready to celebrate the first anniversary of the Green Scarf Protest, which was replicated in dozens of Argentinian cities in 2018." In the photo, a woman holds a sign that reads "The only thing between decriminalizing abortion and not doing so are 150 women killed every year due to clandestine abortions."

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), about 500,000 abortions occur each year in Argentina, a country in which there are no official figures on clandestine abortions.

However, it is estimated that 47,063 abortions occurred in public hospitals in 2014, 42% of which involved women under 25 years of age. Among the young women's cases, 5,959 abortions occurred in the Buenos Aires province and 1,764 in the province of Salta, as reported by El Destape.

Despite the high incidence of abortions, the Argentine Senate rejected a bill for the voluntary interruption of pregnancy on Aug. 8, 2018, which sparked social discontent across the country.

"There is no democracy possible without women’s right to decide on their bodies and life projects. People are not instruments of human reproduction but subjects of rights. ... There will not be a step back in the rights acquired on the road to complete emancipation," the Campaign stressed.

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