On 8 August 2018, Argentina’s Senate rejected the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (VIP) bill that had already been approved by the lower house of parliament. The bill was the result of a long campaign and a series of mass mobilisations bringing the struggle for women’s, lesbians’, trans, and transvestites’ rights once again to the fore. We have translated the statement by Argentina’s National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion in the wake of the Senate’s decision. As the Campaign underlines, this setback cannot obscure the social change that has already been achieved and it will not stop the movement.
The Campaign goes on!
The National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion is thankful for the international social and political support that we received on the occasion of the parliamentary rejection of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy bill.
We managed to open the Congress doors for our voices and arguments to be heard and to transmit to our representatives a struggle that belongs to the movement of women, lesbians, transvestites, trans, and feminists. This is unprecedented and historical, because – through dialogue – we fought over the ways in which we want to be talked about in norms and institutions. We have written history and changed national politics. We have achieved the social decriminalisation of abortion and soon we will make it a law.
However, in the face of the rejection of the law by the Senate, we hold responsible the provincial and municipal authorities for any setback, of any kind, in the fulfilment of the Law on Comprehensive Sex Education and of the Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation Program. We urgently demand that all local authorities which have not done it yet adopt the medical practices established by the Health Ministry’s Protocol for the Comprehensive Care of those who qualify for the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy. We will remain vigilant and will not allow any doctor to inflict institutional violence or abusively report any woman or person who aborted and needs guaranteed access to comprehensive healthcare.
Additionally, while we take care of each other, we hold responsible all the relevant authorities concerning our safety, as we must mention here the attacks, harassments, and threats against those who wear our green cloth, a symbol of autonomy and freedom. Such intimidations surfaced since the lower house approved the bill on the right to abortion.
The Campaign is the result of thirteen years of political activism at the national level. We are not a fringe group nor are we “the green side” of a concluded debate. We are subjects with rights, activists for a better world who organised and expressed the power of our arguments in all spaces of our lives. There are no winners when pregnant women and pregnant people in our territory must continue aborting clandestinely. The issue is deep: in front of the opportunity for change, the decision was that of maintaining the legal status quo of 1921 and of upholding a discriminatory norm that hits only a part of the population. But pregnant women and pregnant people will continue aborting in spite of the foetus fundamentalists’ wishes. We will not be disciplined, and we will eternally exercise our sovereignty over our own bodies.
From now on, each death and each arrest because of abortion will be on the hands of the government and of the forty senators who abstained or voted against our right to life, health, and dignity. They rejected the popular demand for legal, safe, and free abortion in a legal process in which no alternative proposal emerged. They do not care for us, for those who abort risking their lives, for those who are arrested or live a clandestine life. We will not forgive them because they are not worthy representatives of a society that chooses to broaden citizenship rights. But we stand in solidarity and we know that, in all our actions, we can count on the support of the millions of people who mobilised on 13 and 14 June and on 8 August 2018. In the streets, abortion is already legal.
We will keep hugging each other in loving pañuelazos (1), in Argentina, in our America and in the world. We call not to vote for candidates who opposed our right to decide and we urge all political parties to include in their electoral platforms for the 2019 elections the Law for the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy, because this is the demand with the largest consensus in the movement of women, lesbians, transvestites, trans and feminists, who represent the majority of the population in the country. We demand a secular state now.
We will meet in October at the National Women’s Meeting in Chubut to discuss and create new strategies. We are invincible, and the campaign goes on! Now the young ones are with us, and together with the pioneers we will return to scream in the congress, in the streets, and online:
Sex education to decide
Contraceptives not to abort
Legal abortion not to die
We are making history
Democracy owes us legal abortion
National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion
Coordinadora of the Campaign 28 September for Latin America and the Caribbean
(1) A pañuelazo is a form of protest in which demonstrators display the green scarfs that became the symbol of the right to abortion campaign.