A debate over the legalization of abortion is taking place in Argentina following the approval of same sex marriage last year. A coalition of 250 organizations known as the National Campaign for the Right to Safe, Legal and Free Abortion is behind draft legislation to legalize abortion that has the support of 50 lawmakers. The legislation, first introduced in 2007 and again in 2010, would allow access to free abortion on demand in government health centers and extend the time frame for abortions in cases of rape, mother’s health and disability of the unborn child.
Argentine pro-life leader, Deputy Cynthia Hotton, who faces re-election as a representative to the National Assembly from the Province of Buenos Aires, spoke out against the campaign and any support of its agenda by the legislature, including the use of government buildings. Hotton raised concern that abortion is against the law and any support of abortion or support of activities to overturn the law on abortion is support of an illegal act. Hotton stated, “It is a scandal that the Legislature remains associated with the promotion of the practice of a crime. I reaffirm my commitment in defense of the life of the child from conception and to natural death”.
Pro-abortionists activists in Argentina are also using the false argument that legalizing abortion will reduce maternal mortality. Citing the need to attain the nation’s Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG) to reduce maternal mortality to 13 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2015, the Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (FEIM) is leading the push for the legalization of abortion. According to the Health Ministry, maternal deaths increased to 55 per 100,000 live births in 2009 from 44 per 100,000 live births in 2008, but the rise was attributed to the H1N1 flu epidemic, not abortion.
Marie Smith, Director of the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues, states, “Attempts to reduce maternal mortality by legalizing abortion are a disservice to Argentine women. The lives of these women need to be valued and not used as a tool to advance a pro-abortion agenda. The lives of mothers can be saved during pregnancy and childbirth if attention is focused on life-affirming solutions that include access to pre- and post- natal care, emergency obstetric care, treatment of anemia and hypertension, assisted childbirth, blood transfusions, and the use of antibiotics.”
“Abortion is not health care and mothers’ lives can be saved when efforts to provide authentic health care replace the agenda-driven policies of international NGOs. Abortion, whether legal or illegal, can cause physical complications which lead to maternal deaths as well as psychological, emotional and spiritual complications which negatively impact women’s lives.”
Abortion activists in Argentina, as in most countries, are also promoting the use of abortion pills, including misoprostol alone and RU 486, claiming the use of such drugs for abortion will stabilize the maternal death rate. According to Smith, “These activists again ignore the reality that such drugs have high complication rates and use can result in severe blood loss, the very factor responsible for the majority of maternal deaths worldwide.”
The pro-abortion campaign in Argentina realizes that the law is not likely to pass this year but appears satisfied with a political debate on the legalization of abortion.