The following media release was shared on Tuesday afternoon by the Women’s Equality Center:
BUENOS AIRES — Today, Congressional lawmakers in Argentina introduced legislation to legalize abortion in all cases up to 14 weeks. Ahead of the presentation of the bill, pro-choice legislators rallied alongside more than 200,000 women, community activists, feminist groups and human rights organizations at the National Congress declaring abortion access as a basic human right. Currently in Argentina, abortion is illegal with the exception of rape or endangerment to the life of the woman. However, even when abortion is legal, access is not guaranteed.
Jenny Duran, a member of La Campaña Nacional por el Derecho por al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito, said: “Being a mother should be a choice, not an obligation. The current law in Argentina undermines our health, our wellbeing and our freedom. We call on lawmakers to do the right thing – listen to women’s voices and respect our right to make our own decisions about our bodies. Maternal mortality and clandestine abortions will continue to be a stark reality in Argentina until safe, legal abortion care is guaranteed.”
Abortion is a highly-charged issue for Argentinian voters heading into the upcoming presidential and congressional elections. Despite a growing national movement for expanded abortion access, efforts to legalize abortion have been stymied. In 2018, Argentina’s National Congress narrowly failed to pass similar legislation that would have legalized abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. More than two million people marched ahead of the vote in the Argentine Senate, the largest ever demonstration for abortion access in the world.
Today’s legislative action is the country’s first attempt to expand abortion access since an 11-year-old girl in Tucumán, who was raped by her grandmother’s partner and became pregnant, was denied her legal right to an abortion and instead underwent a caesarean section in February 2019. The story shook the international community and continues to generate enormous pressure on Argentinian officials and political candidates, as voters prepare to mobilize for the country’s upcoming elections in the summer and fall of this year.
Paula Avila-Guillen, a human rights lawyer and Director of Latin America Initiatives for the Women’s Equality Center, said:“With growing, widespread public support for expanded abortion access in Argentina and around the world, Lucia’s story is a stark reminder that any restrictions on safe abortion endanger the lives of women and girls. The reintroduction of this legislation signifies another crucial step in Argentina’s fight for reproductive freedom as the momentum around women’s rights intensifies leading up to the country’s critical elections. Now more than ever, Argentina has an opportunity to stand up for its women and girls whose voices have been ignored for far too long.”