Attempts to legalize abortion in Argentina failed last year. Now, the country’s president is pushing a bill to change that.

Argentina, pro-life

UPDATE, 3/10/20: Argentina’s bishops held a pro-life Mass on Sunday, March 8 at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lujan, which 100,000 people were estimated to have attended. The Argentine bishops’ conference planned the Mass, themed “Yes to women, yes to life,” to show their opposition to the legalization of abortion by President Alberto Fernandez. Bishop Oscar Vicente Ojea Quintana told the crowd: “It’s not right to eliminate any human life, as our National Constitution affirms,” adding “violence and death are the exact opposite of Jesus’ plan.”

March 3, 2020: In 2018, abortion activists tried — and failed — to legalize abortion in the pro-life country of Argentina. Pro-life Argentinians resisted pressure from outside groups and fought back, leading the Senate to vote against legalizing abortion. But now, the pro-abortion push is coming from none other then Alberto Fernández, the president himself.

Before Fernández took office in December of 2019, he had already promised that a bill legalizing abortion would be one of his first official acts, calling himself an abortion “activist.” He’s now seemingly making good on that promise. According to the Guardian, Fernández said on Sunday that he would be sending a bill to the country’s congress within 10 days. If it passes, it would make Argentina the first major country in Latin America to legalize abortion. The 2018 failure was blamed on then-president Mauricio Macri, who did not give support for the bill to legalize abortion.

READ: Doctor in Argentina convicted of refusing to abort 23-week-old baby

“The state must protect its citizens in general and women in particular,” Fernández said in an address to congress. “Society in the 21st century needs to respect the individual choice of its members to freely decide about their bodies.” Abortion activists unsurprisingly celebrated the announcement. “We are very happy; today is a historic day,” Ana Correa, a pro-abortion activist, said. “The decriminalisation and legalisation of abortion is finally within reach. Let’s hope that congress is up to the role assigned to it.”

While the abortion lobby is applauding this development, pro-lifers are not, including the Catholic Church. “The culture of death advances,” Archbishop Jorge Eduardo Scheinig said in a recorded message. “We need to pray so that in Argentina, the yes to life is stronger than death.” The pro-life movement in Argentina is symbolized by the light blue bandannas they wear, even though wearing them in public has made them targets of horrific pro-abortion violence.

In addition to trying to legalize abortion, Fernández has also put new protocols into place which pro-lifers say are meant to threaten the conscience rights of pro-life physicians. Argentina’s Catholic bishops argued that his new protocols “do not respect conscience objections,” and have borrowed from Roe and Doe in the United States, vaguely defining “health” in such a way that allows abortion even under non-life threatening circumstances, including “mental” or “social” health.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to add new information. 

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