Argentina has become the largest South American country to legalize abortion after massive protests across the country by abortion activists who have seen multiple bills on the issue so far denied. December 30 was one of the most important moments in Argentina’s history, after more than 12 hours of debate, the Catholic Church was influenced by the government to pass a law that legalized abortions, allowing them to end pregnancy for up to 14 weeks.
“We were able to break the prejudice and the discussion became much less dramatic. Society is beginning to understand this debate in more moderate and less lunatic terms.” Senator Lucila Crexell was cited by the New York Times.
Argentina is a country where the Catholic Church has long influenced government decisions, so the topic of abortion has always been avoided. Just two years ago, the government rejected a bill to legalize abortion, a decision that felt like a heartbreaking defeat for the organizers and protesters of the moving women’s movement.
However, the struggle for legalization of abortion began in the 1980s when feminists took over. This issue attracted little attention due to the period when democracy seemed weak after the state was freed from military dictatorship and religious conservatism dominated public debate.
In 2005, a national campaign for legal, safe and free abortion rights was formed, and the struggle for legal abortion officially began. The first legislation was introduced in 2008 but was dismissed due to lobbying by the Catholic Church and lawmakers who did not want unity. “Many people said they agreed, but they refused to sign the bill,” said Julia Martino, one of the activists of these efforts, as the New York Times quoted.
It was the brutal murder of women, including a 14-year-old pregnant girl, in 2015 that really started the movement, and created the Ni Una Menos (Not One Woman Less) movement, which began to emphasize the struggle of Argentine women. Faced underground abortion.
The movement’s efforts brought together Argentine women to participate in mass street protests and protests, highlighting issues such as gender discrimination, gender equality and women’s rights. Their protests were very effective and several other Latin American countries took notice and followed in their footsteps.
In 2017, abortion rights activists urged protests to support legalization, and the turnout was an unexpected achievement. Writer and abortion activist Claudia Pineiro said, “What happened with the movement was that their numbers were increasing and they started to acquire different voices. At large gatherings, the slogan shouted, the most popular of which was “Be with the patriarchy that will collapse! It will fall! Long live feminism to win! I will win!” Dora Barrancos, one of the 1980s issue activists and government sociologist, said the new generation went through a’contagious revolt’.
The Ni Una Menos movement pushed the issue of women’s rights into the country’s political discourse and had a profound influence on government decisions surrounding the issue. In 2017, South Korea passed a bill to expand the quota system so that women can achieve full equality in national politics.
The basis for this decision was laid by the women legislators united on this particular front who, despite political differences, planned their strategy in the WhatsApp group. “I realized how powerful we are as women when we act in harmony. “All of us are very anomalous and have contributed in a way that conducts politics completely different from the way men do politics,” she added.
Several women lawmakers tried to legalize abortion in 2018, but the government rejected the bill after intense lobbying from the Catholic Church. Several senators who opposed the bill at the time also voted no. President Alberto Fernandes, elected in 2019, has pledged to make the matter a legislative priority in the campaign.
This movement eventually won the support of all kinds of people. It began with young women, but they joined elderly women, men and blue-collar workers, and over time the protests took the form of a national movement. Rural activists also joined the city base.
This is not the first time street movement has succeeded in introducing progressive laws in the United States. In 2010, Argentina approved same-sex marriage, and in 2012 it approved one of the most progressive gender identity laws in the world. Both gained importance and traction through street protests.