Argentina legalises abortion in historic victory for reproductive rights

argentina legalises abortion
Jasmine Norden

Argentina has legalised abortion, becoming only the fourth country in Latin America to fully do so.

The new law will allow abortions until the 14th week of pregnancy, where they were previously only allowed if the mother’s health was at risk or if she had been raped.

The Argentine Senate voted in favour of the bill at the end of December, after the lower house did the same earlier in the month. The bill was introduced by Argentine president Alberto Fernández, who celebrated the victory.

Reproductive rights campaigners took to the streets to welcome the news:


The fight for legalisation

The road to this law has not been easy in Argentina, a Roman Catholic country. The Senate previously rejected a similar abortion bill in 2018.

Abortion laws across Latin America are strict, with many placing strict penalties on those who access them. In several countries in the region, abortions are not permitted under any circumstances, and can result in imprisonment.

More than 38,000 women have to go to hospital each year in Argentina because of problems with illegal procedures.

Hope for the future

Campaigners hope that Argentina’s decision will be echoed across Latin America. Activists in Chile, Colombia, and Brazil have petitioned their courts to loosen abortion laws.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

Today Argentina has made an emblematic step forward in defending the rights of women, girls and people with reproductive capacity. It has also sent a strong message of hope to our entire continent: that we can change course against the criminalization of abortion and against clandestine abortions, which pose serious risks to the health and lives of millions of people. Both the law passed by the Argentine Congress today and the enormous effort of the women’s movement to achieve this are an inspiration to the Americas, and to the world.

Featured image via YouTube/BBC News

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us