They Lost Argentina’s Abortion Vote, but Advocates Began a Movement
BUENOS AIRES &mdash They narrowly lost the vote.
But as supporters of a bill to legalize abortion in Argentina started to shake off a stinging defeat in the Senate on Thursday, they took consolation in possessing galvanized a reproductive-rights movement across Latin America and began to think about how to redirect their activism.
A coalition of young female lawmakers who stunned the political establishment by placing abortion rights at the top of the legislative agenda this year seemed to be on the verge of a historic victory with the bill. But intense lobbying by Catholic Church leaders and staunch opposition in conservative northern provinces persuaded sufficient senators to vote against it.
Soon after a 17-hour hearing, the bill was defeated early Thursday by a vote of 38 to 31, with two abstentions.
&ldquoWe will no longer be silent and we won&rsquot let them win,&rdquo mentioned Jimena Del Potro, a 33-year-old designer who fought back tears as she spoke. &ldquoAbortion will be legal soon. Really quickly.&rdquo
Despite the setback, a lot of proponents marveled that Argentine lawmakers had come so close to passing the measure, which would have permitted abortion in the course of the initial 14 weeks of pregnancy and fractured the near-total prohibition on abortion in Latin America.
The measure had currently been authorized in the lower chamber of Congress. Current law allows abortions only in cases of rape or when a mother&rsquos life is in danger.
The bill energized hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across Argentina in a females&rsquos rights movement identified as Ni Una Menos &mdash Not One particular Less &mdash and enthused females from Brazil to Mexico.
&ldquoWhat Argentina did was mobilize young ladies and generate the memory that we practically won,&rdquo said Debora Diniz, an anthropologist at the University of Brasília who helped create a petition now ahead of Brazil&rsquos Supreme Court that challenges the constitutionality of its anti-abortion laws.
&ldquoThey changed the way we speak about abortion,&rdquo Ms. Diniz said. &ldquoIt&rsquos not just feminists, intellectuals. It&rsquos young ladies, your daughter, your sister.&rdquo
Ninety-seven % of Latin American females live in nations that ban abortion or permit it only in rare instances. Only Uruguay, Cuba, Guyana and Mexico City let any lady to have an early-term abortion.
&ldquoAbortion rights was a priority and it will be deeply discouraging to have come this far and fail,&rdquo stated Benjamin Gedan, an Argentina professional at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. But he said women&rsquos rights advocates currently had accomplished successes, such as the passage of a law that seeks to have an equal quantity of male and female lawmakers.
&ldquoIf we make a list of the factors we&rsquove gained and the issues we&rsquove lost, the list of issues we&rsquove gained is a lot bigger,&rdquo mentioned Edurne Cárdenas, a lawyer at the Center for Legal and Social Research, a human rights group in Argentina that favors legal abortion. &ldquoSooner or later, this will be law.&rdquo
President Mauricio Macri of Argentina opposed the bill, but mentioned he would have signed it. Soon after the vote, administration officials said they planned to ease abortion penalties in an overhaul of the penal code that will be presented Aug. 21. Females acquiring abortions can be charged with a crime and imprisoned under the current law, though that occurs very rarely.
The penal code modifications had been in the operates for some time, but they appeared to reflect Mr. Macri&rsquos realization that the reproductive-rights movement in Argentina was now an established force.
&ldquoThe females&rsquos movement mobilized all regions of Argentina it was intergenerational and exceeded everybody&rsquos expectations,&rdquo said Françoise Girard, the president of the International Girls&rsquos Health Coalition, which supports legal abortion. &ldquoThe new generation of teenage girls who came out in such numbers will not be stopped.&rdquo
The organized movement that pushed the bill began in 2015 with the brutal murder of a pregnant 14-year-old girl by her teenage boyfriend. Her mother claimed the boyfriend&rsquos loved ones didn&rsquot want her to have the child.
A journalist, Marcela Ojeda, despairing more than yet yet another lady&rsquos violent death, posted a tweet: &ldquoAren&rsquot we going to raise our voice? They&rsquore killing us.&rdquo
Her anger struck a chord. Within weeks, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched across Argentina, right after organizing on social media about the hashtag #NiUnaMenos.
The slogan spread to neighboring countries, which includes Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia, exactly where it was employed to denounce violence against ladies, demand reproductive rights and draw focus to connected causes.
Analysts stated the movement&rsquos improbable rise already had begun to change the area in methods that would have been impossible just years ago. The campaign is credited with inspiring debate on a variety of girls&rsquos problems, which includes domestic violence, a subject that has long been taboo.
Ahead of the vote, supporters rallied in Uruguay, Brazil and neighboring Chile, exactly where they gathered in front of the Argentine Embassy in Santiago, chanting and wearing the green handkerchiefs that symbolized the movement.
Many coupled their disappointment at the outcome in Argentina with optimism.
&ldquoWhen you undergo a method like this, you must maintain fighting,&rdquo mentioned Susana Chávez, an activist in Lima, Peru, who directs the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights, a nongovernmental group. She stated activists have been already planning a march in Lima on Saturday.
The abortion debate in Mexico has been accompanied by a public outcry more than violence against women and a renewed push for gender equality, led mainly by females&rsquos and human rights groups.
Final fall, protests under the Ni Una Menos banner in at least 5 Mexican cities demanded an finish to violence against females. The protests had been a response to the rape and murder of Mara Castillo, a college student, right after a taxi ride in the city of Puebla.
In El Salvador, which bans abortion below all situations, two bills had been proposed in Congress this spring that had been pushed by females&rsquos rights groups and their allies, opening debate on the issue for the initial time.
For Argentina, the debate over abortion tugged at the nation&rsquos sense of self.
It is the birthplace of Pope Francis, the leader of the world&rsquos Catholics, who lately denounced abortion as the &ldquowhite glove&rdquo equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics plan.
But the nation in current years has inched away from a close church-state connection.
In 2010, Argentina became the first nation in Latin America to let gay couples to wed &mdash a move the church fought with a vigor similar to its battle against abortion. Francis, then the archbishop of Buenos Aires, called that bill a &ldquodestructive attack on God&rsquos plan.&rdquo
The church had many allies in the abortion debate, like women who spent hours outdoors Congress in the Argentine winter cold as the debate got underway Wednesday evening.
Several expressed relief at the result.
&ldquoIt was a really emotional day,&rdquo said María Curutchet, a 34-year-old lawyer. &ldquoWe had been out in huge numbers and showed that we will defend the two lives, no matter the cost.&rdquo
Some prominent female political leaders also came out against the measure, including Vice President Gabriela Michetti.
But Mr. Macri&rsquos well being minister, Adolfo Rubinstein, testified in Congress in favor of legalization and estimated that some 354,000 clandestine abortions are carried out each year in the nation. Complications as a result of those abortions are the single major lead to of maternal deaths in the nation, according to Mariana Romero, a researcher at the Center for the Study of State and Society, a nonprofit organization.
Whilst the measure failed in the Senate, it produced some inroads. Among the senators who voted for it was Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who as president had opposed legalizing abortion.
&ldquoThe ones who made me change my thoughts were the thousands and thousands of girls who took to the streets,&rdquo she mentioned.
Published at Thu, 09 Aug 2018 23:32:00 +0000