Campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito, Argentinia
In Argentina both abortion and access to contraception are hotly contested. Abortion is only legal in instances of rape or when a woman’s life is in danger. And even then doctors often refuse to perform the procedure, often causing delay until the point that termination is no longer possible. Although Argentine law requires the public health system to provide free contraceptives, the government’s failure to purchase and distribute birth control reliably means it often isn’t available or is very expensive. This puts women’s health, and sometimes their lives, at risk.
Campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito is an alliance of over 300 organisations from the health, rights, political, art and cultural sectors in Argentina. The campaign is a strategic effort to influence change at the legislative level, as well as to ensure the necessary public support. In 2011 the Campaign was lobbying parliament, advocating for legalising abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, and for no time limits in cases of rape or risks to the woman’s health.
The justice system and the medical industry are dominated by conservatism, opposing laws and public policies for women’s sexual and reproductive rights. But, the public debate on abortion is growing, and the media increasingly solicit the opinion of the organisation. In 2010, an opinion poll revealed that 60% of the population was against any form of criminalisation of abortion, a landmark majority in a country where the population is largely Catholic. A historic breakthrough came in May 2011, when Argentina’s Congress held its first debate on the legalisation of abortion. The Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy bill, drafted by the Campaign, secured the signatures of over 50 deputies of Congress. The debate on the bill received a positive hearing and in March 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that abortion in case of rape or threat to a woman’s life is legal and that an affidavit of being raped is enough to allow a legal abortion. It also ruled that provincial governments should write protocols for the request and treatment of legal abortions in these cases.
Claudia Anzorena and Estela Diaz of Campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito: ‘Thanks to close collaborations with abortion rights activists in other Latin American countries, we keep fine-tuning our work on legalising abortion. We exchange strategies and lessons learned, and most important, we empower each other.’
Campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito received a grant by Mama Cash in 2011.