Argentina is set to become the first major Latin American country that will legalise abortion.
The president of the country, Alberto Fernandez, said he plans on sending a bill for legal abortion to their congress.
Fernandez said in his annual speech to congress that the state has to protect its citizens and women and that society in the 21st century has to respect the individual choices and the right to make free decisions about our own bodies.
In most states in Latin America, abortion is illegal.
The predominantly Roman Catholic region with 21 countries has Cuba and Uruguay as two countries where abortion is a legal procedure, as well as in a third one, that is, Anglican Guyana.
What Happens If the Bill Is Approved?
If the proposed bill gets approved, Argentina that boasts a population of 45 million citizens will be the first biggest nation in the region to make abortion legal.
In 2018, a bill for abortion legalisation was defeated after the then-president’s Mauricio Macri failure to support it and because of the strong opposition by the church.
But, this time, the current president is the one who’s presenting the bill, supported with the governing party.
Argentinean Women’s Right Activist Support the Bill
The women’s rights activists in Argentina who’ve campaigned for the legalization of abortion for a long period of time welcomed the president’s support and announcement.
According to writer and campaigner Ana Correa, ‘they’re very happy and this was a historic day’. She further added that the decriminalisation and legalization of abortion is within reach.
Unfortunately, the right to abort pregnancy is restricted throughout Latin America and terminations are allowed in some places only after rape or if the pregnancy impedes the woman’s life.
El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic have bans without such exceptions.
The criminalization of abortion has therefore led to a lot of women, especially the poorer one, to go and seek it elsewhere, often times putting their well-being and lives at risk.
Mariela Belski, director of Amnesty International in Argentina, praised the announcement and said that it’s clearly that their president has heard women’s demands and that of girls and adolescents, and that he has the conviction that the country is ready for the change.