Argentina: the first "big one" with legal abortion in Latin America

This week, the Argentine Senate approved the interruption of pregnancy until week 14 .

Women's march for the legalization of abortion

Argentina joins the countries that have decriminalized abortion. / Photo: Wikimedia-Wotancito

Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Argentina: el primer "grande" con aborto legal en Latinoamérica

Argentina becomes the first large country in Latin America to completely decriminalize abortion up to the 14th week of gestation. This triumph for the Argentine feminist movement and the progressive government of Alberto Fernández may be the first domino to fall in the entire region.

This law had already been approved in the House of Representatives and it only needed the approval in the Senate (plus the signature of the president) for it to become reality. With an overwhelming majority (38 senators in favor, 29 against, and a single abstention), the congress gives way to a historic law that had already been rejected in 2018 with a different legislature.

Before this law, Argentina, like several countries in the region, only allowed abortion in rare circumstances: in case of rape or danger to the life of the mother. Thus, Argentina is the fourth country (after Uruguay, Cuba and Guyana) to approve free abortion in all of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Read also: Overview of abortion in Latin America

Conscientious objection is maintained

Despite the fact that it is already legal, private health or social security centers may refuse to carry out this procedure due to conscientious objection, as long as the patient is referred immediately and "without delay" to other service providers with those who have an agreement. This, due to the fear that through the objection, it will be difficult for a woman to exercise this right.

However, conscientious objection will not be applicable when there is a risk to the health of the woman and this requires immediate and urgent intervention.

First of many

Despite the fact that Argentina is only the fourth country to allow abortion, its approval carries greater political weight than its predecessors. Only in Cuba, Uruguay and Guyana is abortion allowed. These 3 countries do not add more than 16 million inhabitants, while in Argentina alone there are almost 45 million, the fourth most populous country in Latin America.

In this way, the results and figures provided from now on may be an important argument in the approval of Abortion in the other countries of the region. Additionally, the "marriage" that was seen between the feminist collective and the Argentine progressive government for this law may position abortion as one of the main flags of left-wing movements throughout the region.