A young activist who lobbied Argentina to legalize abortion is believed to be the first woman to die from a supposedly “safe, legal” abortion in the country.
ACI Prensa reports the woman, María del Valle González López, 23, died along with her unborn baby April 11 after taking abortion drugs that she was prescribed at the Arturo Illia hospital in La Paz.
Later, news outlets confirmed that González López was the president of Radical Youth of La Paz (Juventud Radical de La Paz) in Mendoza, one of the groups that lobbied the country to legalize abortion last year, Remix News reports.
The Argentine legislature voted to legalize abortion on Dec. 31.
On April 7, González López, a college student, requested an abortion at the hospital, and two days later, she “began to feel ill. She was referred to the main healthcare facility in the eastern area of Mendoza, Perrupato Hospital, where they diagnosed a general infection that may have caused her death,” the Argentine newspaper Clarín reported.
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Local authorities said they are investigating if medical malpractice was involved in her death. Filo News reports she was diagnosed with sepsis at the hospital a few hours before she died.
Dr. Luis Durand, a surgeon in Argentina, told ACI Prensa that abortions are not health care.
“While some believe that the death of the young woman could have occurred due to some misconduct, in reality abortion is not a medical practice,” Durand said. “Just a few months ago, it was a crime under Argentinian law. In the case of abortion, the death of the child is always brutal. It is burned through injecting substances into the uterus, or it is removed through dismemberment, or it is subjected to extreme uterus spasms which asphyxiate it.”
Soon after the news broke, pro-life leaders in the country mourned the young woman’s death and questioned abortion activists’ silence on the tragedy.
“María del Valle was 23 years old and had her whole life in front of her. She was a student and had become president of Radical Youth in Mendoza. She had a legal abortion on Wednesday and by the weekend she was already dead. I’m telling you because the feminists remain silent. #MurioPorAbortoLegal,” pro-life leader Guadalupe Batallán responded on Twitter.
Belén Lombardi, a young mother and pro-life activist, also noted abortion activists’ hypocrisy, writing, “If María had died from a clandestine (illegal at the time) abortion, feminists would be tearing the whole city apart, but since María died from a legal abortion and that doesn’t suit (their cause), it’s scrubbed,” according to the report.
Remix reports the young woman’s death has brought about a renewed debate about abortion in Argentina; many now are urging that women be informed of the risks of abortion to their lives as well as their unborn babies.
Prior to the vote in December, some abortion advocacy groups claimed as many as 40,000 women in Argentina have been injured or killed in illegal abortions. They argued that legalizing abortions would protect women’s lives.
But the claim is dubious. Pro-abortion groups often overestimate the number of illegal and unsafe abortions that occur in countries across the world, and some have admitted to lying about the numbers.
Growing evidence indicates that access to basic health care, not abortion, is what really helps improve women’s lives, and increasing access to abortions only leads to more deaths.
Abortion activists claim that abortion drugs are extremely safe and effective – so much so that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration just lifted FDA safety regulations on abortion drugs last week, allowing them to be sold through the mail without even a doctor’s visit.
But many doctors and pro-life leaders warned that the change will put women’s and babies’ lives at risk and expose them to a greater risk of abuse.
In the United States, the abortion drug mifepristone has been linked to at least 24 women’s deaths and more than 4,000 serious complications. Risks include excessive bleeding, severe abdominal pain, infection and hemorrhage.
A 2009 study “Immediate Complications After Medical Compared With Surgical Termination of Pregnancy” in the journal “Obstetrics and Gynecology” found a complication rate of approximately 20 percent for the abortion drugs compared to 5.6 percent for surgical abortions.