Activism

Pro-lifers mobilizing to oppose abortion across Latin America

Argentina

Last week, Mexico City became enveloped in a sea of light blue as huge crowds of pro-lifers took to the streets to voice their opposition to the recent decriminalization of abortion by Mexico’s Supreme Court. The ruling is the latest in a series of victories for abortion advocates, but pro-lifers have not abandoned the battleground for life and are rallying together to end the killing of preborn babies across Latin America. 

In recent years, a movement known as the “Light Blue Wave,” which uses the slogan, “Save the Two Lives,” exploded throughout Latin America. The movement began in Argentina in 2018 to mobilize the pro-life movement to fight against attempts to legalize abortion. They celebrated a major pro-life victory in August 2018 when the senate rejected the legalization of abortion by only a handful of votes. 

However, the issue of legalizing abortion was put back on the table following the election of President Alberto Fernández in 2019. He had made legal abortion a focus of his campaign. In December 2020, Argentina legalized abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy. Abortion after the 14th week is permitted in cases of rape or when the mother’s health is at risk—despite the fact abortion is never medically necessary

Amid continued attempts to loosen abortion restrictions across Latin America, pro-lifers are once again donning light blue kerchiefs and clothing, and gathering by the thousands to fight for life. France24 recently reported that at least 10,000 pro-lifers assembled for the March for Life and Women on Oct. 3 in Mexico City. A 38-week-old pregnant woman underwent an ultrasound on stage to publicly show the presence of the life within her. “Legal or illegal, abortion must be out of the question, because women deserve so much more,” said Alison Gonzalez, a Catholic activist and head of Steps for Life.

The battleground for life goes beyond Mexico and Argentina. The Blue Wave is gaining momentum in large part due to an aggressive abortion agenda pushed by Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocacy groups. 

Argentina

With the legalization of abortion at the beginning of the year, Argentina became the fourth country in Latin America to legalize abortion, joining Cuba, Guyana, and Uruguay. Many Argentinians opposed the move, indicating that politicians and legislators are not listening to the voices of the people. In fact, at that time, pollsters found that approximately 60% of the population opposed legalizing abortion. 

The measure was met with condemnation from native Argentinian, Pope Francis, who tweeted hours before the senate session, “The Son of God was born an outcast, in order to tell us that every outcast is a child of God. He came into the world as each child comes into the world, weak and vulnerable, so that we can learn to accept our weaknesses with tender love.”

The International Planned Parenthood Federation issued a statement celebrating the news as “a historic decision by the Senate” and congratulating themselves for their role in supporting the legalization of the killing of preborn children in a pro-life country, stating, “IPPFWHR has nurtured an ecosystem of feminist organizations and activists for more than 15 years that contributed to make today possible.”

While IPPFWHR claims to support women and girls, many women—including underprivileged women—fiercely opposed the legislation, fearing they would be pressured to abort. A number penned a letter to Pope Francis saying they worried they would “grow old with the idea… that we don’t have a right to have children because we are poor.” 

Although abortion advocates often tout maternal mortality as a reason for legalizing abortion, the procedure is unsafe and extremely dangerous for women. Earlier this year, a 23-year-old woman—and pro-abortion leader—died following a legal abortion in Argentina, becoming the first recorded maternal death from abortion since it legalization in December 2020. 

Although the measure was signed into law earlier this year, pro-lifers continue to challenge the litigation, arguing that the law is unconstitutional and violates the country’s international agreements.

Argentina, pro-life

Opponents of the legalization of abortion hold a demonstration outside the Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires, on July 03, 2018. – Argentina’s Senate on Tuesday began to discuss a historic abortion bill passed last month by the Chamber of Deputies. (Photo by EITAN ABRAMOVICH / AFP) (Photo credit should read EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP via Getty Images)

READ: ‘Light Blue Wave’: How the pro-life movement is spreading across Latin America

Chile

Chile has also begun exploring the possibility of decriminalizing abortion. Several weeks ago, Chile’s Chamber of Deputies approved a plan to debate a bill that would decriminalize abortion, allowing it for any reason up to 14 weeks. The bill was first introduced in January, just a month after Argentina’s new law went into effect, but there are still many legislative hoops to clear.

Following the legislation’s approval, Chile’s Catholic Bishops expressed their disappointment, issuing a statement emphasizing that “unconditional respect for human life should always guide any ethical, legislative, human and health consideration when facing the reality of unwanted pregnancies.”

Until recently, Chile was one of few countries disallowing abortion under any circumstance. However, in September 2017, abortion became legal in cases of rape, “mother’s health,” or a child’s fatal diagnosis. In September 2018, when Chile began to consider legalizing abortion until 14 weeks, pro-life Chileans rallied to oppose the move. 

Thousands gathered as a Blue Wave in front of the National Palace, and today, Chileans remain strongly pro-life despite continued pressure from abortion advocates.  

Dominican Republic

The pressure to abandon pro-life laws has not escaped the Dominican Republic—one of a handful of Latin American countries where abortion has been illegal in all circumstances. Earlier this year, the United Nations Development Program began pressuring the nation to legalize abortion when a woman’s life is in danger, when serious fetal deformations are present, or in cases of rape or incest.

In response, thousands of Dominicans, many carrying light blue flags and kerchiefs, flooded the capital after traveling by caravan to stand up for “the two lives.” During the protest, the pro-lifers noted in a manifesto, “Nothing and nobody can legalize the death of a human being, be it fetus or embryo, child or adult, old or sick, incurable or dying.” 

This was not the first time the country’s strong pro-life position was challenged. In December 2014, President Danilo Medina signed the country’s amended Penal Code, allowing abortion in those three situations. Soon afterwards, pro-life groups filed an appeal, and the amendment was ruled unconstitutional.

Although the Dominican Republic continues to face pressure to amend abortion laws, abortion remains illegal in the country.

Ecuador

Tragically, Ecuador is among the countries loosening abortion restrictions. Earlier this year, Ecuador’s Constitutional Court voted in favor of decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape. Previously, abortion was only allowed in cases where the mother’s health was at risk. There were several decriminalization attempts there in the past, but all were unsuccessful—until now. 

Ecuador’s bishops had written to the Constitutional Court arguing that rape is not solved by abortion, noting, “The rapist must be treated with the maximum rigor of the law, especially if he is someone close to the victim, such as a relative, a friend, or an acquaintance. Otherwise, impunity for the aggressor would be favored. Furthermore, there is not a single woman in prison for abortion; much less if she were a teenager, who has another juridical process.”

The vote came after an insidious Planned Parenthood propaganda effort to manipulate people into supporting the repeal of existing pro-life laws and changing opinions on abortion in cases of rape. 

Historically, Ecuador has been solidly pro-life. During recent court proceedings regarding the abortion law, pro-lifers showed up in huge crowds to denounce the court’s decision. 

READ: Thousands participate in Dominican Republic car caravan to stand for pro-life laws

Guatemala

Most abortions remain illegal in Guatemala with exceptions to “save the life of the mother.” However, that didn’t stop Planned Parenthood from attempting to set up shop. In November 2020, the Guatemalan government’s Official Gazette published the ministerial decision 231-2020 authorizing Planned Parenthood Global Guatemala LLC, a foreign nonprofit, to open a local chapter in Guatemala. An uproar ensued, prompting President Alejandro Giammatei to issue a new ministerial decision overriding its authorization to operate in the country.

Despite enormous pressure from Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates, Guatemala has largely remained pro-life. When abortion activists tried to overturn pro-life laws last year, the Blue Wave descended and over 20,000 Guatemalans marched in support of life. In 2017, the Guatemalan military also blocked a Dutch ship operated by Women on Waves when it was learned the ship was transporting Guatemalan women into international waters for abortions. Reuters reports that one Guatemalan citizen called out to the crew, “Why don’t you go to the Netherlands to kill children?”

pregnant

Photo: Twitter

Mexico

Despite the country’s long pro-life history, Mexico’s Supreme Court voted last month to decriminalize abortion. Abortion was already legal up to 12 weeks in Mexico City as well as in several states, but has been banned elsewhere. Courts can no longer prosecute abortion cases.

Pro-life groups had been demonstrating and praying outside the Court, urging the justices to choose life for preborn children, and shouting, “Yes to life, no to abortion.” They wore light blue clothing and carried light blue flags. Some painted light blue hearts on their hands. 

One protestor told reporters, “We cannot support a law that does not seek the common good. Laws are there to seek the common good, not at the expense of an individual interest, which is that of the unborn and defenseless. Unfortunately, we are moving in that direction, but we hope that this can be reversed and open new paths for the good of all.”

Despite this ruling, legislation to fully legalize abortion was abandoned earlier this year, with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador refusing to allow the legislation to receive a full vote. However, pro-lifers fear that decriminalizing abortion will pave the way for full legalization in the future. 

As abortion activists continue to relentlessly push for further legalization and push for abortion in every corner of Latin America, pro-lifers are proving they will never give up the fight to protect the right to life. The Blue Wave isn’t going anywhere.

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