Over the last 30 years more than 25 countries have changed their laws to provide greater access to abortion. Unrestricted abortion is now available in he United Sates, Canada most European nations, China, South Africa , and Tunisia among others.
But in Latin America and the Caribbean 97% of women live in countries with restrictive abortion laws. The exceptions are Cuba, Guyana, Uruguay and Mexico City.
At the moment the great battleground and test case for abortion rights is in Argentina. After the Chamber of Deputies recently approved an abortion rights bill, the Senate on August 8 voted it down 38 to 31.
The battle that preceded this vote centered on two opposing groups. “Ni una menos” (not one less) was formed in 2015 to raise awareness about violence against women. Green handkerchiefs are the symbol of their efforts.
Opposing them are the pro-life activists, whose support comes mostly from rural areas. They succeeded in defeating the bill. They wear blue handkerchiefs and their slogan is
“Si a la vida” (yes to life). This group has the support of the Church, which calls abortion the murder of a child. Also in their favor is the fact that the Constitution bans abortion except for rape victims. In Argentina, abortion is considered both immoral and illegal.
In Chile restrictive measures on abortion were also introduced this year, and a protest march by women took place on July 25.
Pope Francis, who is Argentinian, was in Chile at the time and he compared having an abortion to avoid birth defects to the Nazi idea of trying to create a “pure” race.
Our Great Leader, not to be outdone, also plunged into action. He promptly decided to deny funds to family planning clinics that provided abortions.
Banning abortions does not make them go away and an average of 200 women die each year because of botched illegal ones. The victims of unsafe abortions are the poorest and most marginalized women. They fall victim to unscrupulous and dangerous quacks.
I believe that abortion should be allowed but used as a solution of last resort. Every living organism has a built-in urge to continue living and we are deluding ourselves when we affirm that killing a “pest” or slaughtering a cow or a pig is OK and that the “sanctity of life” applies only to humans. It is also true that aborting a fetus can have emotional consequences such as feelings of guilt and depression.
And so I agree with those who say that abortions should be legal, safe, and rare. Having the possibility of abortion available in case of need should be like having a fire escape in your building. You hope not to use it, but your life is more secure because it is there.