After decades of fighting in Argentina to legalize abortion, on December 30th, the senate passed a bill to legalize abortions. In total, there were 38 votes in favor of the bill, 29 votes against, and one abstention. The outcome of this bill was likely due to years of protesting organized by Argentina’s women’s movement.
Before Argentina, the only places in Latin America that allowed abortions were Cuba, Uruguay, and Mexico City and the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. In certain Latin countries abortion is only available in certain conditions, such as rape or if the mother’s life is at risk. This bill would make abortions free, legal, and safe up to the 14th week of pregnancy. According to Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernandez, more than 3000 women have died due to unsafe underground abortions in Argentina since democracy returned to the country in 1983.
Many activists in Argentina believe that since this bill passed in Pope Francis’s home country, it may allow the movement to spread to regions with strict abortion laws and areas that are large in Catholic and evangelical churches.
According to Giselle Carino, head of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region, “It shows how, in spite of all the obstacles, change and progress are possible. Argentinian women and what’s happening right now will have an enormous impact on the region and the world…”
The pro-choice campaign in Argentina was boosted when leftwing, Fernández, became President. On top of that, many of the women who participated in the #NiUnaMenos marches (not one less- referring to no more women being lost to gender violence) were going to be first time voters. #NiUnaMenos grew in popularity on social media as a response to the death of 14-year-old Chiara Páez, who was found murdered under her boyfriend’s house, beaten to death and a few months pregnant. This movement brought thousands of women in Argentina together to participate in many marches advocating for women’s rights.