Abortion Advocates Mobilize in Argentina

Public demand for access to safe and legal abortions in Argentina reenergized after reports surfaced in January of a 12-year-old rape victim whose doctors, under pressure from antiabortion groups protesting outside the hospital, denied the requests of the girl and her family to obtain an abortion (a legal procedure for rape victims in the first 23 weeks of pregnancy). Instead, the doctors performed a cesarean section, delivering a dangerously premature infant who died soon after. Feminist and abortion rights groups denounced these actions and highlighted the fact that the procedure performed on the girl was not a legal abortion method under the current law. The girl’s mother has called for the health minister to be fired. A month later, on Green Action Day for the Right to Abortion in Argentina, thousands of women across the country took to the streets to participate in Pañuelazos (abortion rights marches featuring green handkerchiefs), demanding that the Senate pass the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Bill (IVE). The Senate voted down the bill last August, after intensive lobbying by the bishops of the Conferencia Episcopal Argentina, but the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion intends to present the bill anew in March.

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