Fierce

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.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Sol de Bernardo Has A New Outlook On Education Thanks To Papumba

Fierce

Sol de Bernardo Has A New Outlook On Education Thanks To Papumba

Courtesy of Apple

If there is one thing the pandemic has proven to be essential, it’s the internet. For Sol de Bernardo, head of content creation at Papumba, access to technology should be “a basic right.”

Adjusting to remote learning was tough for students when lockdowns were implemented around the world last year. The parents of the children also took a toll while trying to balance child care, school, and work at the same time.

“During this pandemic, I am a believer that technology is a great ally for those who could have the connection and technology to continue learning,” de Bernardo told mitú.

Unable to physically interact with friends, many children have spent hours endlessly scrolling and gaming without limits. Apps like Papumba are trying to add meaning to a child’s screen time easing parents’ concerns.

Papumba is an educational gaming app geared for children ages 2-7.

Photo courtesy of Apple

De Bernardo says the app has become “a resource widely used by parents to entertain and educate their children in this time” after seeing a spike in subscriptions.

However, for low-income families in Argentina where Papumba is based, many children are vulnerable to the lack of connectivity.

“There is a big inequality problem [and] it’s not a distant reality,” says de Bernardo.

In Argentina, 75 percent of children from low-income families don’t have access to computers. Out of those that do, 36 percent don’t have internet access.

To accommodate families Papumba often lowers their monthly prices, even offering promo codes but de Bernardo wishes access to tech could be given throughout.

A proud Latina in tech, de Bernardo’s journey was not instantaneous.

Photo courtesy of Apple.

De Bernardo started out as an educator and that background got her interested in the connection between education and technology. This intimate knowledge of the specific issue led her to bridge that gap.

“Privileged” to be working in tech, de Bernardo is encouraging other young girls to take an interest in STEM. Some advice de Bernardo has to offer young girls is to first get access to a computer, network when you can, and be confident.

“It may be difficult to have confidence in a world full of things that aren’t always good for women, but trust yourself, be dedicated, and above all, be resilient and humble,” she says.

While still a young company, de Bernardo hopes to develop more tangible devices for children to use in classrooms like high-tech dolls and books. However, her current focus is on quality education through the app.

De Bernardo wants to push Papumba to include educating children on their emotional wellbeing.

Photo courtesy of Apple

“We do not talk about emotions enough,” she says. ” We have an activity to recognize emotions where an animated child will form emotions and explains them so the children can understand that there are different emotions and it’s okay to have them.”

When introducing touchy subjects like bullying, de Bernardo finds it important to focus on teaching young children solutions to dilemmas explaining that “the explanation of the problems may not be easy for a 3-year-old to understand.”

Nevertheless, delivering context in a simplistic way is included in such activities. Most recently, the app released a game inspired by the pandemic.

An instant success, the game introduces the imaginary town of ‘Papumba Land,’ where kids can engage in replicated outdoor activities such as: hosting a barbecue, partying with friends, or having a picnic in the park.

Last month, in-person learning returned to Argentina, but de Bernardo hopes that a year online changes the approach in future children’s education.

“I think that technology can help us in this by putting adding a little fun for the child,” she says. “Learning does not have to be [treated] like a mandate where you have to learn something and repeat the year if you fail. There has to be something for the child to want to learn.”

“[Working at] Papumba has helped me understand that you can create something fun for children to enjoy learning and not make it seem like going to school is a nuisance,” she says.

The App Store featured Papumba for Women’s History Month.

READ: Nicole Chapaval Advocates For More Latinas In Tech Through Teaching App Platzi

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

El Salvador’s ‘Total Abortion Ban’ Is Landing Women Who Have Accidentally Miscarried in Jail

Fierce

El Salvador’s ‘Total Abortion Ban’ Is Landing Women Who Have Accidentally Miscarried in Jail

Photo via Getty Images

The right for a woman to decide what to do with her body is a controversial subject in much of Latin America. Some countries, like Argentina, are slowly becoming less conservative in their approach to reproductive rights. Other countries–like El Salvador–have stayed the same.

El Salvador is a country that has some of the most prohibitive anti-abortion laws in the world.

Along with Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic, El Salvador is one of the Latin American countries that does not permit abortion under any circumstances. El Salvador has a “total abortion ban” policy.

Next week, El Salvador’s total abortion ban will be analyzed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Since 1998, 140 women have gone to jail for illegally terminating their pregnancies in El Salvador. Many of these women say that they are innocent of the charges.

One of the most famous of such cases is the case of a woman that simply goes by “Manuela”.

In 2008, Manuela went to jail for illegally terminating her pregnancy. When Manuela was seven months pregnant, she went to the hospital because she was suffering from a miscarriage.

When the 33-year-old mother of two was receiving medical care, she was accused of having an abortion. She was convicted of aggravated homicide and sentenced to 30 years in prison. After 2 years, Manuela died behind bars. She had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma–a disease that had caused her to miscarry her pregnancy.

“Manuela was the victim of a State that does not protect the life and health of women, that discriminates and criminalizes them for having natural complications of pregnancy and does not provide guarantees to protect the confidentiality between medical staff and patients,” said Catalina Martínez Coral, the regional Latin American director at the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement.

Next week, a woman named Sara will appear in court for allegedly terminating her pregnancy in 2012.

But Sara’s lawyers said she did not intentionally end her pregnancy. They say she accidentally miscarried after she slipped and fell doing dishes. At the hospital, Police detained Sara. Sara is now in prison with a 30 year sentence.

“Sara’s hearing offers a new opportunity to do right by her and the hundreds of women who have been forced to mourn the loss of their pregnancy from a prison cell,” writes SKDK communications director Tania Mercado.

Like Mercado, Catalina Martínez Coral believes these upcoming trials are a chance for El Salvador to change its draconian abortion laws.

“We want El Salvador to assume the international responsibility it has evaded for years despite the repeated calls from multiple human rights organizations to review the legislation that causes this unjust criminalization of women,” she said.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com