After a month of the legalization of abortion in Ireland, another country is taking a step forward and considering the very controversial procedure.
On Wednesday, Argentina’s lower house of Congress will vote whether or not they should make abortion legal during the first 14 weeks of a women pregnancy
Abortion in Argentina is illegal, and if the procedure is done women could be jailed for up to four years. Thus removing that freedom from Women in Argentina and giving the government power over a women life and choice. In cases of rape or lethal threat, however, abortion is legal. Still, many doctors refuse to do this procedure because they are not willing to separate their religious beliefs from their professional career.
“In practice, those exceptions are not actually honored, and what we see is a near total ban on abortions,” says Salil Shetty, the secretary general of Amnesty International.
According to research more than 97% of women of reproductive age in Latin and the Caribbean live in countries with restrictive abortion laws. About 6 countries in Latin America do not permit abortion under no circumstances. While about nine countries permit it only if the woman’s life is in danger and some in the cases of rape. This has resulted in many cases where women are seeking their freedom of choice and therefore, seeking out abortion under unsafe conditions were most cases failed.
The women who are most likely to suffer from these unsafe procedures are women who live in poor and rural communities who do not have the resources to raise and child, which then results in them making this life-threatening decision.
There is a link between abortion and traditional Christian Catholic beliefs that traces back to the era of colonization, where women were expected to bear children and were further severely punished if abortion was even a thought. Furthermore, Argentina is Pope Francis homeland and the Catholic church oppose all abortions
Though it is a human rights violation to take this choice from women, many traditional women struggle to accept abortion as a personal choice and consider it murder.
Another reason that Latin America is behind on issues concerning human rights violations is that during the 1960s-70s while western feminist women were protesting for their reproductive rights, women in Latin America were gathering to oppose dictatorships. Thus, making democracy and building a stable a nation their primary concern. They struggled through violent wars and it was not until the 90s where feminist movements began to gather around in order to push for reproductive rights.
In addition, considering how long it takes for progress and change to come to affect, Latin American women are still struggling for their human rights and making an effort to change the policies around women’s rights. However, considering that the government in Latin America is mostly run by males and the machismo culture is very much present and alive, it has been rather difficult to make progress in this area.
There’s a similar rhetoric that is said amongst opposer of abortions and that is that if someone feels responsible enough to be having sex then they should be responsible enough to accept the consequence. This includes a child.
The way they ended up a ballot dates back to 2015 when a 19-year old Daina Gacai was killed and found on the side of the road in a burlap sack. Upset over the incident over 400,000 marched onto Buenos Aires’ asking for reproductive rights.
In Latin America the only countries that allow abortion include Cuba, Uruguay, Guyana and some parts of Mexico.
Abortion rights campaigns are hopeful that the country would move on to progress and give basic human rights to women.
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