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Argentina Makes History As It Legalizes Abortion In The Majority-Catholic Country

Argentina has truly made history as it moved to legalize abortion with an early morning vote by the senate. The country’s senate has approved a bill to allow abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy, a ground-breaking move for a region that has some of the world’s most restrictive termination laws.

Argentina’s Congress votes to approve bill allowing abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy.

Argentina has become the largest Latin American country to allow abortion after its senate approved the historic law change by 38 votes in favor to 29 against, with one abstention.

Elated pro-choice campaigners who had been keeping vigil outside Buenos Aires’s neoclassical congressional palace erupted in celebration as the result was announced at just after 4am on Wednesday.

Women screamed with delight, sweeping their friends into tight hugs and jumping in ecstasy. Many wept tears of joy. Victory music kicked in and green smoke filled the air. A triumphant message flashed up on a big screen above the joyful crowd: “We did it!” it said. “ES LEY!” (IT’S LAW!).

Original Story Published December 12, 2020:

Argentina has just taken one massive step closer towards women’s equality. On Friday morning, the lower house of Congress voted to pass a bill that would legalize abortion in the majority-Catholic country. The bill was passed after more than 20 hours of debate.

If passed by the senate, it would make Argentina one of only four Latin American countries that has legalized abortion.

Coincidentally, the move comes just days after a 12-year-old rape victim in Jujuy was forced to give birth to twins after being denied an abortion.

According to reports, local authorities insisted the girl remain pregnant until the twins were mature enough to be delivered via C-section.

The town’s branch of Health Professionals for the Right to Decide released a fiery statement condemning the actions of Jujuy’s local authorities. It read: “Despite the fact that the National Directorate of Sexual Health made an offer to immediately resolve the situation, preserving the physical and emotional health of the girl, the authorities in charge of the local Health portfolio, rejected the proposal and they decided not to guarantee this girl her right to ILE (legal interruption of pregnancy).”

As of now, the unidentified girl is not living back with her parents. Other than that, there is no update on the health or whereabouts of the girl or the babies.

For years, abortion access has been incredibly restricted in Argentina.

The procedure was illegal except in cases where the mother or baby’s lives were in danger. In 2019, the country passed a law that also included rape victims as exceptions. It appears that Jujuy’s local authorities skirted that law.

Otherwise, abortion is considered a criminal offence in Argentina. Women who consent to the procedure face up to four years in prison. Doctors or anyone who otherwise performs abortions could face up to fifteen years in prison.

In Jujuy, childhood motherhood appears to be a crisis. According to TodoJujuy, 685 adolescent births took place in public hospitals this year. Of that number, 20 of the girls were rape victims between the ages of 10 and 14.

The push towards various kinds of gender rights–including abortion rights–has been central to President Alberto Fernández’s administration.

The center-left politician campaigned on a platform that emphasized the rights of women, gay, and trans communities since he was elected in 2019. Even throughout the devastation of the pandemic, Fernández has insisted on keeping his promises towards marginalized communities.

Fernández helped create a quota system that guarantees trans individuals one percent of federal public-sector jobs. He has also reportedly asked his team to “avoid scheduling meetings that include only straight men”.

As of now, the movement towards women’s rights in Argentina seems to be progressing.

“This is a fundamental step and recognition of a long struggle that women’s movements have been carrying out in our country for years,” said Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, Argentina’s Women, Gender and Diversity minister, to Reuters. “We are going to continue working so that the voluntary termination of pregnancy becomes law.”

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Just Issued Her First Opinion In Abortion Case And Cast Doubt On Future Of Roe V. Wade

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

It was no secret that if the Republican Party and Donald Trump got their way with the Supreme Court, that women’s health and reproductive rights would be under attack. Well, Trump installed his new justice, Amy Coney Barrett, to the court in November and she’s just issued her first opinion in a case related to access to abortion.

Amy Coney Barrett handed a victory to the White House and Conservatives regarding abortion.

Since taking her seat on the Supreme Court in November, Justice Coney Barretts’ opinions have escaped much scrutiny. However, her latest opinion in an abortion-related case is drawing scrutiny from both the left and the right for clues of how she might rule in the future.

The decision, issued despite objection from the court’s more liberal judges, reinstates a requirement for patients to pick up the drug, mifepristone, in person. Three lower courts had blocked the Food and Drug Administration’s in-person pick-up requirement for mifepristone during the coronavirus pandemic, citing the risks of contracting COVID-19 at a doctor’s office or a hospital.

Julia Kaye, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, called the court’s decision “chilling” and one that “needlessly” endangers “even more people during this dark pandemic winter.”

In an interview with NPR, she added that people of color, like Black and Latinx patients, are at particular risk for health risks posed by COVID-19. Requiring them to go to a doctor’s office in person to pick up the drug threatens the health and lives of those patients, she said.

It’s the first abortion-related decision since last year’s swearing in of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, whose presence on the high court bench ensured a new conservative majority. Abortion-rights advocates have been fearful of what a conservative majority could do to chip away at legal protections for abortion.

On the surface, this week’s abortion ruling is fairly minor but it has many women worried.

Credit: Phil Walter / Getty Images

In its ruling, the Court didn’t release a majority opinion, which means that the case doesn’t explicitly change existing legal doctrine. And the case concerns a policy that the Biden administration could likely reverse after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

But, when you read between the lines, the case – FDA v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – warns of a dark future for abortion rights and women’s health.

The premise of pro-abortion rights decisions like Roe v. Wade (1973) is that the Constitution provides special protection to the right to an abortion that it doesn’t provide to other elective medical procedures. Yet, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor explains in dissent, American College effectively rules that a commonly used abortion drug may be regulated more harshly than any other legal medication.

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Survey Says Support For Abortion Has Risen In Mexico

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Survey Says Support For Abortion Has Risen In Mexico

Cyndi Monaghan/ Getty

Abortion rights have been long-debated issues for countries across the globe. Always, when it comes to conversations about women’s reproductive rights, is the debate that decisions like these should be decided solely by the people directly affected. You know, the ones with uteruses. Surprisingly, the president of Mexico agrees.

Last Thursday, the president declared that he believed that the decision about whether the country should legalize abortion should be left up to women.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stressed last week that the legality of abortion should be up to Mexico’s women to decide.

While López Obrador avoided revealing his actual position on the issue, he did say that a public consultation should be considered in the decision. In Mexico, the issue of abortion remains controversial and is still rejected by many Mexicans.

“It’s a decision for women,” Lopez Obrador explained one day after the Argentine Senate voted to make abortion legal. “It’s just that matters of this nature should not be decided from above.”

Lopez Obrador’s comments came soon after the Argentine vote was made and journalists in a news conference asked him whether he thought Mexico should take similar action.

Mexico, a majority Roman Catholic nation, is changing in its perception of abortion restrictions.

According to Reuters, “At the end of November, support for abortion stood at 48% in a survey, published by the news organizations El Financiero and Nación321 – a steep rise from the 29% recorded in March. The poll, based on telephone interviews with 410 participants, asked if respondents agreed that “the law should permit a woman the right to abortion.”

While abortion is legal in Mexico City and the state of Oaxaca, it remains illegal in most of the country with the exception of special circumstances.

According to Reuters, a “nationwide poll published in September 2019 by newspaper El Financiero showed that a woman’s right to abortion only had majority support in Mexico City and Baja California state.”

Sixty-three percent of people who took part in the survey said that they were against abortion rights while 32% were in favor. Fifteen thousand adults took part in the survey.

Various nations in Latin American ban abortion in totality. El Salvador, has in the past sentenced women to up to 40 years in prison. Until recently, only Cuba and Uruguay have allowed women to recieve elective abortions.

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