I enjoyed Jon O’Brien’s article “The Arc of Moral Progress May Be Long, but Argentina’s Women Will Prevail.” It rightly calls attention to the differentiated impact that illegal abortion has among women who are the most vulnerable. At the same time, it highlights the need to address this impact in rural areas, in neighborhoods and geographic areas that have greater cultural diversity and in areas where the power of the church’s most conservative sector is stronger and has greater influence among authorities and workers.
In that regard, we would like to congratulate the efforts of the organizations that constitute the National Campaign for the Right to Legal Abortion in increasing public awareness and mobilizing thousands of people to the streets. Their presence pushed the center-right government into allowing the discussion to take place in Argentina’s parliament. Furthermore, they won the hearts and the votes of many politicians who lost the fear of speaking about legalizing abortion.
Along these lines, the work of the members of Catholics for the Right to Decide–Argentina is vital in bringing to the public consciousness the fact that the Catholic community does not have only one voice. That it is not monolithic and that, in spite of the power and resources of the Church’s most conservative groups, most Catholic voices demand a church that is more inclusive and respectful of human rights, of freedoms and equal opportunity. Furthermore, the work it is carrying out allows for the decentralization of the political debate and brings it to the families, the churches, neighborhoods and, finally, to the streets.
The work before us is arduous, but we are before a context in which we can no longer retrace our steps. Women activists and organizations will not lowering their guard until the state guarantees the right to choose to all women.
Gladys Via Huerta
Project Coordinator, Catolicas por el Derecho a Decidir- Peru