Es Hoy
August 8, 2018 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Abortion is banned in Argentina except for cases of rape or risk to a woman’s health. That could change today if the country’s Senate votes to legalize abortion up to 14 weeks. A bill passed the country's lower house of Congress nearly two months ago by a slim margin. "Senators will now decide whether to send the bill on to President Mauricio Macri — who, despite his personal misgivings, has said he would sign it into law." This would make Argentina the most populous country in Latin America to legalize abortion. Hundreds of thousands of pro-choice activists (wearing green) and anti-choice activists (wearing sky blue) are now protesting in the capitol, Buenos Aires. Many are young women.

Additional Reading

* Argentine Newspaper: Clarins. Their main page has streaming video and additional coverage.

* El Mundo: Senado de Argentina inicia histórica sesión por aborto legal

* Pope Francis, who is from Argentina, has reportedly asked anti-abortion legislators to pressure fellow lawmakers to reject the bill.

* A majority of Senators have announced they will vote against the bill. Video report from TeleSUR. Also see: Argentina’s Fight for Abortion: Latin American Feminism Has Won

* The push to legalize abortion has been a natural outgrowth of a wave of recent protests over the last three years fighting violence against women. Those protests rallied under the slogan “Ni una menos” (“Not one less”, meaning no more women should be lost to gender-related violence). The protests gave rise to a fourth-wave grassroots feminist movement that has addressed sexual harassment, sexual objectification, sex workers' rights and transgender rights as well as the gender pay gap. The movement has championed the cause of legalizing abortion in Argentina.

* The World is Watching

* Twitter hashtag #EsHoy

* BBC: No going back: The two sides in Argentina's abortion debate


* New York Times: What to know about Argentina's vote on abortion

* The Guardian: Argentina holds historic abortion vote as 1m women rally to demand change. The article notes that an horrific chapter in Argentina's history helped inspire Margaret Atwood to write The Handmaid's Tale: the "Dirty War," during which 30,000 people were kidnapped and forcibly “disappeared” by the military junta that deposed the Peronistas, but kept pregnant women alive and in captivity until they gave birth. The mothers were then murdered and their children were handed to military families to raise. In turn, dozens of women dressed in the bright red cloaks and white bonnets of Atwood’s handmaids recently demonstrated on the steps of the country’s congress.

Atwood, in response to a recent article in Santa Fe's Uno Newspaper had this to say:
"Women who cannot make their own decisions about whether or not to have babies are enslaved, because the State claims ownership of their bodies and the right to dictate the use to which their bodies must be put.
...
We say that women "give birth." And mothers who have chosen to be mothers do give birth, and feel it as a gift. But if they have not chosen, birth is not a gift they give; it is an extortion from them against their wills.

No one is forcing women to have abortions. No one either should force them to undergo childbirth. Enforce childbirth if you wish, Argentina, but at least call that enforcing by what it is. It is slavery: the claim to own and control another's body, and to profit by that claim".
posted by zarq (11 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
Giving birth is to sacrifice one's own life for another and nobody should be forced to sacrifice their health and longevity for the sake of a theoretical potential person. I like the way they put it.

"We say that women "give birth." And mothers who have chosen to be mothers do give birth, and feel it as a gift. But if they have not chosen, birth is not a gift they give; it is an extortion from them against their wills.

No one is forcing women to have abortions. No one either should force them to undergo childbirth. Enforce childbirth if you wish, Argentina, but at least call that enforcing by what it is. It is slavery: the claim to own and control another's body, and to profit by that claim"."
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:48 PM on August 8 [23 favorites]


I hope they legalise it! I'm wishing the pro-choice side good luck!
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:51 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Thanks for this. I'm guessing it won't pass, at least right away, but (as an ex-porteño) I'm keeping my fingers crossed...
posted by languagehat at 3:12 PM on August 8


Good luck, Argentina!
posted by rodlymight at 3:55 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


"My mother is against the idea of abortion. But she understood that she cannot force other people to think the way she does, or to die because of what she believes in,"

That is a mother who is paying attention.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:50 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


I suppose the blue handkerchiefs were chosen by the anti-abortion side because of that colour's iconic association with Mary, but why did the pro-abortion rights side choose green?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:18 PM on August 8




A recent This American Life had a great segment on the debate, and a sudden crash of the feminist wave on the rocky shores of daytime television.

(And that Margaret Atwood quote is fantastic.)
posted by kaibutsu at 10:54 PM on August 8


Argentina Senate Rejects Bill To Legalise Abortion by 38 votes to 31.

Pressure from the Catholic church prevented its approval, according to female activists who supported the bill.
posted by jontyjago at 12:11 AM on August 9


Disappointing.
posted by SLC Mom at 3:52 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


jontyjago: "Pressure from the Catholic church prevented its approval, according to female activists who supported the bill."

More to the point:
So how was the abortion bill blocked? By the institutional design of the Argentine Congress. By one prominent measure, the Argentine Senate is the most malapportioned chamber in the world. Most of its population is concentrated in three provinces, out of a total of 24. But each of those 24 provinces elect the same number of senators.

In the case of the abortion bill, the most overrepresented provinces — meaning that senators from these regions represent fewer citizens, each of whose votes therefore has more power than the votes in highly populous provinces — had the highest concentration of abortion opponents. Argentine surveys found that the issue polarized voters. While the nation was split roughly 50-50, the two sides were concentrated in different regions. Specifically, more than half of the Senate represents the 13 provinces that form the Northeastern, Northwestern and Cuyo regions, which contain a bit over 25 percent of the country’s population. And fewer than a third of those regions’ voters supported the bill. The final Senate vote of 38 to 31 reflected that malapportioned divide.
Note that (barring political realignment or constitutional reform) this is likely the U.S. Senate's future, as well, as more and more people move from rural mountain and Midwestern states to large cities in the more populous coasts.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:37 AM on August 13 [2 favorites]


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