A feminist movement in Argentina, lasting over thirty years, finally reached victory on December 30th when a motion was approved for legal abortions. The recent bill approval marks a turning point in Latin America, an area where the Roman Catholic Church’s influence has long dominated. Since 1983, clandestine abortions have caused over 3,000 deaths. In hopes to eliminate unfortunate deaths, the bill passed in favor of allowing abortions within the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy, any abortion past the date of fourteen weeks pregnant is to be approved if it resulted from rape or the fetus proves to put the women’s lives or integral health in danger.
The process took twelve hours, a session occurring in the upper chamber ending with thirty-eight votes in favour to approve, twenty-nine votes against and one vote abstaining. This will be a victory for the women’s movement that has been fighting for the right for decades, as Argentina is now the largest country in Latin America to legalize abortion. With the exception of Cuba, Mexico and Antilles; abortion remains illegal in most of the subcontinent.
Until now, Argentina penalized women for aborting, with sentences as severe as fifteen years in prison. Even the cases of children from rape or a fetus causing a mother to become ill were rarely exempted. Along with other countries in Latin America, they considered abortions no matter how justified to be heinous, illegal acts for the area is under the Catholic Church’s influence.
Doctors and clinics may refuse to aid the woman and her abortion, but the bill requires them to provide the woman with contacts of another medical clinic that can be of help. These regulations are strictly for abortions outside of rape or a baby being of harm to the woman. If the fetus proves to put the woman in danger, then a doctor must perform the requested abortion.
While Argentina is celebrating the advancement of women’s rights, not all regions seem to agree with the approval. Countries such as Brazil have come out to alert their citizens that they will never approve of this act of sin on their land.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro added, “I deeply regret for the lives of Argentinian children, now subject to being ended in the bellies of their mothers with the State’s agreement. If it depends on me and my administration, abortion will never be approved on our soil.” A sentiment shared with thousands of people across the subcontinent.
The Roman Catholic Bishops Conference issued a notice alerting the region of Latin America will “Will deepen even further the divisions in our country” and create more harm between Pro-Life and Pro-Choice being that Argentina has seemed to neglect the Pro-Life sentiment across the nation.
Since the approval, the region of South America has experienced a division in their community. From those looking to advance in women’s rights to those being strictly against it, the separation in opinions from politicians, workers and citizens is being displayed ruthlessly. One can hope that the bill acts as a stepping stone for areas outside of Argentina to ensure the advancement of equal rights and hopefully across the world.
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