Recently, Argentina made a historic move in legalizing abortion, setting the stage for what could be a wave of change in South America.
In South America, most countries have not legalized abortion. However, on Wednesday, Argentina became the largest nation in Latin America to legalize abortion, according to The New York Times. This is a huge landmark for women because the region is particularly conservative.
As protests continued in the streets of Argentina, the senate debated for nearly 12 hours. In some Latin American countries, many women cannot vote or even have their own money and possessions. The Roman Catholic church is a huge influencer in Argentina and in other South American countries.
However, a huge grassroots feminist movement has been taking place over the past months.
At first, Argentina could not pass a bill. About two years ago, a bill failed to pass in the senate, 38-31. Two years later, the vote changed over an overnight debate 38-29, according to Vox. This is a huge accomplishment for women who have been campaigning for their rights for years in Argentina, and now women will be able to safely have abortions.
Women have been fighting for the right to choose what they do with their own bodies for years, and the fight is still happening today. Most people remember or have heard of Roe v. Wade, the legendary 1971 United States Supreme Court case where Norma McCorvey argued her right to an abortion was defined as her right to liberty in the constitution.
Roe v. Wade was an important landmark for women’s rights in the United States of America. However, the battle for women’s rights is worldwide, not just in our country. In 1931, Mexico became the first country to legalize abortion in cases of rape, and other countries followed.
The truth is, women have been getting abortions for decades before it was legalized. This is a pattern not only in Argentina, but many countries that don’t offer women reproductive services. According to BBC, a minimum of 350,000 illegal abortions occur in Argentina every year. These abortions occur with inadequate tools, dangerous proceedures, and doctors with little or insufficient medical training.
As a result, women everywhere die from these illegal abortions, especially in developing countries. The World Health Organization states that 13.2 percent of maternal deaths worldwide are due to illegal, unsafe abortions. So, it is clear illegalizing abortion does not stop women from getting them.
In many countries, rules and social norms are very strict against women. Men are not expected to take any responsibility for birth control, but women are forced to follow strict, conservative rules. The women of Argentina and Latin America are determined to fight for change.