Uruguay Bolsters Pro-Choice Prospects In Argentina
Pro-choice activists in Argentina are encouraged by the recent legalization of abortion in Uruguay. But it's still a very thorny topic.
By Jessica Weiss
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (WOMENSENEWS)--As Argentines watch early abortions head toward legalization next month in neighboring Uruguay, a leading pro-choice activist here says federal support is the only thing standing in the way in this country.
"We've fought for human rights and we've had many victories in this country," says Julia Martino, a coordinator of Argentina's National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion and a member of the National Socialist Party. "What's lacking in Argentina is just political will."
But she adds that, "We are very active right now and recent events are strengthening the campaign," referring to a Supreme Court decision three weeks ago allowing a trafficked woman to obtain an abortion. "But when neither the president nor the Minister of Health react to such a court decision, it's clear there is a serious lack of courage in this country."
In 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage. This year, it passed a "dignified death" law to grant more power to the terminally ill and their families and an extensive transgender rights bill similar to Uruguay's.
But while Argentina has become a frontrunner on such issues, abortion is widely seen as far thornier.
The most recently proposed national law to loosen abortion restrictions has been stuck in committee for three years.
In March, the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in all cases of rape and when there's a threat to a woman's health. But without a national law, each province is left to enforce the ruling and legal abortions continue to be blocked by politicians, doctors and judges.