News By/Courtesy: Sejal jain | 31 Dec 2020 17:10pm IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Argentina's Congress allowed abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy
  • The bill advocates for greater women's autonomy and control over their reproductive rights over their bodies.
  • Abortions in Nicaragua, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic are illegal at present.

In what was a ground-breaking decision in a country that has some of the world's most stringent abortion laws, Argentina's Congress allowed abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy. This transition is historical, and beyond Argentina, in Latin America at large, its repercussions can be seen. Abortions were allowed before the passage of the bill only in cases of rape or when the welfare of the woman was at serious risk. Activists have been protesting for years, calling for this regulation, which has existed since 1921, to be reversed. The nation nearly passed an abortion bill two years ago, which was narrowly defeated. The bill advocates for greater women's autonomy and control over their reproductive rights over their bodies and also offers improved health care for pregnant women and young mothers. Before this, since abortion was against the law in Argentina, girls and women were required to resort to unlawful and dangerous procedures. The spectrum of access to safe medical procedures for abortion was also narrower for girls and women from socio-economically deprived backgrounds. The country's leading cause of maternal mortality is unsafe abortion, according to Human Rights Watch. In Argentina, the Catholic Church and the evangelical community exerted enormous power and influence and strongly opposed the passage of this bill. Even the selling of contraceptives in the country has been prohibited for several decades, following the beliefs of the Catholic Church. There have been numerous cases in Argentina that illustrate why this bill is important to women. In 2006, the family of a 25-year-old rape survivor with significant physical and mental disabilities appealed to the abortion court for judicial approval. While the court granted permission, a Catholic group that had requested an injunction stopped the operation. Only after the family appealed the injunction and the court allowed it, could the abortion continue. The passage of the bill included a marathon session in which, with 29 opposed and one abstention, 38 senators voted in favor of the bill. The bill was one of the campaign promises made by President Alberto Fernández when he said he would reintroduce it after it was defeated in 2018. Fernández had said: “I’m Catholic but I have to legislate for everyone.” Vilma Ibarra, the legal and technical secretary for the presidency who drafted the legislation, was overwhelmed with emotion, according to a BBC report, saying: “Never again will there be a woman killed in a clandestine abortion.” But lawmakers who voted against the law kept defending their position. “The interruption of a pregnancy is a tragedy. It abruptly ends another developing life,” Inés Blas, a lawmaker who voted against the blasts reported by the BBC as saying. In other countries in Latin America, activists are optimistic that the passage of this legislation would have an impact. Abortions in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic are illegal at present. Women can apply for abortion in Uruguay, Cuba, Guyana, and some parts of Mexico, but only in particular situations, and each country has its own rules on the number of weeks of pregnancy under which abortion is legal. There are also various degrees of punishment in countries and punishments levied on girls and women, including prison. Women's rights advocates have admitted that the war is far from over in the country, despite the new law in Argentina. In the meantime, anti-abortion activists and their religious and political allies have sought to stall any progress. Most recently, the conservative president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, vowed to veto any pro-abortion legislation in the world.

 

This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 01 Jan 2021 1:58am IST


Tags : Argentina, abortion, legalisation, women, Latin America

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