Unless you’re spending your time travelling in Argentina on one of its many beautiful beaches, it’s hard not to hear the shout of the women of Argentina for the legalisation of abortion. In this short post we’ll summarise the situation of abortion in Argentina in 2018, that we learnt while travelling the country for 2 months.

Update: Abortion is now legal and free in Argentina since January 2021. This is a great victory for civil rights and we hope other Latin American countries will follow suit.

That shout is expressed through many demonstrations and campaigns, symbolised by a green handkerchief, which we saw literally everywhere in Argentina: on schoolgirls’ bags, on women’s wrists, in homes, on cars’ mirrors, etc.

Abortion situation in Latin America

Out of the 20 countries of Latin America, only 2 have legalised the abortion: Uruguay and Cuba, both requiring only a parental authorisation. All the other countries allow it only in specific situations, for example in case of rape or incest, or if the woman’s life is endangered by the childbirth.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has created an interactive map showing and detailing the abortion laws country by country: http://worldabortionlaws.com/map/. The system of colours speaks for itself, with a few surprises…

Situation of abortion in Argentina

One of these surprises is the case of Argentina, otherwise a fairly modern country in the area of human rights. Legalising the abortion has been in discussion in the Argentinian parliament for several decades, and a positive outcome was almost reached in August 2018. Unfortunately, despite a strong popular support, despite the approval of the law by the chamber of deputies, the senate voted against on a tiny margin of 38 to 31.

Reasons and the debate

Why is that? Well, Argentina, just like most of South America, is still predominantly catholic, especially in the rural areas. It is the home of Pope Francis, the first pope of the Americas. Even a progressive president like Cristina Kirchner was opposed to abortion during her mandate 2007-2015, “because [she is] a catholic”, and because of “deep convictions”, she said.

Yet, there is hope in the country and in the rest of South America. The debate in Argentina, along with the proliferation of green handkerchiefs and the recent scandal of this 11-year old girl who was raped and then denied the right to abort, make more and more people in South America consider an abortion which is “legal, sure and free”. It is to be said that until abortion is not legalised, it is still practised in clandestinity, for an expensive price and in very unsafe conditions.

aborto legal argentina green handkerchief

The green handkerchief takes its inspiration from the symbol of the “Madres de la Plaza de Mayo“.

Travelling through Argentina? Read our complete Argentina travel guide!

(Top image taken from Segundo Enfoque)

Is abortion legal in your country? Which other social cause do you like reading about?
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Who am I?

Anthony fell in love with the world, and more particularly with South America. He wants to offer inspirational guides to the curious backpacker, travel stories to the online generation, and incentives for a more responsible and greener way-of-travel for everyone.

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