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News > Latin America

Argentine Women's Groups Hopeful About Legalizing Abortion

  • Pro-abortion activist in Buenos Aires, August 12, 2016

    Pro-abortion activist in Buenos Aires, August 12, 2016 | Photo: EFE

Published 5 March 2018

After more than 13 years of struggle, the National Campaign for the legalization of abortion believes that the Argentine society is ready to approve the bill.

For the seventh time, Argentina's women rights groups will present Tuesday a bill decriminalizing abortion, as legislators have failed so far to gather enough support to pass the measure.

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The National Campaign for the Right of Legal Safe and Free Abortion, a group that in 13 years of struggle has accumulated the support of over 500 organizations and prominent figures, will be giving a press conference at 10.30 a.m., local time, in the House of Representatives, while feminist groups planned a mobilization at the doors of the Congress at the same time.

“Over the past weeks, Argentine society has proved that it was not only prepared to debate about abortion but also to make a decision in favor of its decriminalization and legalization,” said the group in a communique.

“The State does not fulfill with the international treaties regarding women's rights and people with the ability to be pregnant: in this country, between 370,000 and 520,000 abortions are carried out every year in secrecy, with about 49,000 women ending at the hospital because of complications related to unsafe surgeries.”

The bill already has the support of 70 lawmakers from a broad range of the political spectrum.

Under Argentine law, abortions are considered illegal except in cases when the pregnancy poses a danger to the woman’s life or health, or when pregnancies are the result of rape, incest and other forms of abuse.

Illegal abortion especially endangers the lives of women with no resources who can't afford to abort in countries where the procedure is legal.

In 2007, a bill proposing the decriminalization of abortion was presented to lawmakers with the support of over 350 social organizations. Although the bill has been accumulating more and more signatures since then, from legislators belonging to a wide range of political parties, it was never approved in legislative commissions.

President Mauricio Macri's administration implemented massive budget cuts in the National Program of Integral Sexual Education, as well as to teacher training programs, while the price of a box of misoprostol — a drug more and more commonly used to provoke safe abortions — skyrocketed during Macri's term, from over US$40 in November 2015 to US$170 in 2017.

The femicide of a 14-year-old pregnant girl in Argentina last year gave rise to the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One Less) movement that saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets to demand an end to gender-based violence.

The U.N. Population Fund reported that eight percent of women’s deaths worldwide are because of unsafe abortions. In Latin America and Africa, roughly 25 percent of all abortions are considered unsafe and performed under substandard conditions. 

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