Argentina President Alberto Fernández praised lawmakers in his country over the weekend for advancing a pro-abortion bill that he claimed is a “step toward a better society.”
Fernández introduced the bill to legalize the killing of unborn babies in abortions in Argentina earlier this year. On Friday morning, the country’s lower house passed the bill. It now awaits action in the Argentine Senate where pro-lifers hope lawmakers will reject it as they did a similar bill in 2018.
The pro-abortion legislation would allow unborn babies to be aborted for any reason up to 14 weeks of pregnancy and later in cases of rape or dangers to the mother’s life or health. Currently, Argentina prohibits abortions except in cases of rape or threats to the mother’s life.
Fernández described the bill as “a step basically in favor of public health” and “a better society, expanding rights,” Explica reports. “Yesterday we took a very important step as a society, paying attention to a problem that exists and that we must solve from the logic of public health,” he continued.
He repeatedly has argued that legalizing the killing of unborn babies is a health matter, citing questionable statistics about the number of women who have died from illegal abortions in his country.
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In statements to FM La Patriada, Fernández said, “More than 3,000 women have died from clandestine abortions since the return of democracy.” He said society “cannot continue to ignore” that illegal abortions are happening in Argentina, and the current abortion ban “condemns many women” to suffer because they feel forced to hide their abortions.
He said he hopes pro-life senators have changed their minds since 2018 and will support his bill.
Legalizing abortion does not save lives or help women. Abortions destroy unborn babies’ lives and often harm mothers physically or psychologically. Pro-abortion groups often overestimate the number of illegal and unsafe abortions that occur in countries across the world.
Growing research also indicates that access to basic health care, not abortion, is what really helps improve women’s lives. For example, in 2018, Michelle Oberman, a Santa Clara University law professor, told the Atlantic that she was surprised when she began doing research on abortion in El Salvador. Abortions are illegal there, and she said she expected to find hospitals full of women dying from botched abortions, but she did not. According to Oberman’s research, better medical care, along with an increased availability of abortion drugs online, are leading to fewer maternal abortion deaths.
A recent Washington Post fact check also found what pro-life advocates have been saying for years: that, in the United States, few women died from abortions in the decade prior to Roe v. Wade, and a rise in the use of antibiotics appears to be the biggest factor in the drop in maternal deaths, not legalized abortions.
Support for unborn babies remains strong in Argentina. Pope Francis, previously the archbishop of Buenos Aires, has been writing letters of encouragement to pro-lifers throughout the country. In November, he wrote an open letter to pro-life women leaders who have been fighting for years to preserve protections for unborn babies in their homeland.
“Is it fair to eliminate a human life to solve a problem? Is it fair to hire a hitman to solve a problem?” the pope wrote, adding that the pro-life women “know what life is.”
Pro-life leaders in Argentina also have been organizing peaceful protests, prayer vigils and other efforts to ensure their country continues to protect unborn babies. The pro-life coalition Unidad Provida recently urged lawmakers to reject the pro-abortion bill and enact policies that support “the care of the two lives that are at stake in a vulnerable pregnancy” instead.
Wide-spread public opposition stopped a similar bill from passing in 2018, and pro-life advocates hope to do so again. In 2019, approximately 2 million Argentines participated in the country’s March for Life in Buenos Aires. Thousands more protested in March after Fernandez first announced his plans to legalize abortion on demand.
Currently, Argentina protects unborn babies from being killed in abortions. Exceptions are allowed in cases of rape or threats to the mother’s life. Most countries in Central and South America protect unborn babies from abortion.
However, abortion advocacy groups, backed by some of the richest men in the world, have been putting intense pressure on Argentina and other countries to legalize abortion on demand.
ACTION ALERT: Contact the Argentina Senate to oppose the bill.