Argentina Becomes The First Major Latin American Country To Legalise Abortion

With the approval of this bill, women will be allowed abortion on request up to the period of 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Vanshika Swami
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Argentina Legalizes Abortion Bill

Senators in Argentina  have legalized abortion. The Senate voted by 38 in favour to 29 against with one abstention to approve a bill allowing the abortion procedure through the 14th week of pregnancy. Argentina thus became the first major country in Latin America to have a pro choice law where women will now have the right to terminate pregnancy at up to 14 weeks.


Marta Alanis, a member of the active campaign to legalise abortion in Argentina said, “I have a quota of optimism because I think we, Argentine women, deserve it.” Alanis is among the several women who have been fighting the battle of "pro-choice" for decades.

With the approval of this bill, women will be allowed abortion on request up to the period of 14-weeks of pregnancy. However, the bill will additionally present some exceptions in cases of rape or ones that involve health risks.

Also Read: Here’s Why Mothers and Daughters Must Talk About Sex And Pregnancy

On Tuesday, the 72-member Senate summoned a bill that was approved by the lower house earlier this month to the delight of pro-choice activists. Pro-choice and anti-abortion members of the campaign gathered in the plaza near Buenos Aires’s congress building on Tuesday afternoon. Campaigners were present in the protest place until the early hours of Wednesday when a vote is expected.

“The voluntary interruption of pregnancy” bill would be approved, said Mariela Belski, Amnesty International’s executive director in Argentina as she was confident. She also added that the numbers looked "very good" and that it will send out a powerful message to a region with some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws.

Additionally, Belski said, “The day after tomorrow, Argentina will be a much better country to live in than ever before. It will not solely be better for my daughter, but for the younger generations as well. I am supremely happy that this is finally happening.”

Also Read: Bombay HC Allows Woman To Abort Pregnancy At 32 Weeks, Foetus Has High-Mortality Heart Condition: Report

While "pro-choice" demonstrators are positive about the law and claim to battle further "in the streets"  if the bill is rejected. The anti-abortion protesters on the other hand are hoping that the Senate will repeat its rejection of the law.

The Catholic Church which remains in a highly influential position in Latin America opposes the move. Pope Francis, who is Argentine, directed the senators to oppose the bill of legalising "pro-choice". Moreover, he also tweeted just hours before the debate that "every outcast is a child of God".

In August 2018,  senators debated against legalising abortion and blamed the then President Mauricio Macri for failing to support the change. However, this time, Argentina's leftwing leader, Alberto Fernández, and his vice-president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, have approved screen scarf for the legislation and reportedly been battling to convince senators to back the bill.

Also Read: Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2020: A Step in the Right Direction?

Argentina strongly opposes the idea of "pro-choice", however, certain instances of rape of mother's life or health risk are the exception. This law is not universally applied and there still are parts of the country where women are denied their rights of service by doctors who express a moral and religious objection to the act.

Argentine officials estimate that between 370,000 and 522,000 pregnancies are terminated every year, the vast majority in secret. Those with money pay for safer abortions, those without face dangerous consequences. Some 38,000 women end up in hospitals with complications due to clandestine abortions, officials say, and since 1983, at least 3,000 women have died as a result.

Vanshika is an Intern with SheThePeople.TV

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