Argentina’s Decades-Long Fight to Legalize Abortion Ends in Victory

On Tuesday evening, Argentina was filled with green graffiti that read “Children, Not Mothers”, green banners that read “There will be law” and green bandanas that read “National Campaign for Legal, Safe and Free Abortion”. Adolescents and adult women tied the green handkerchiefs of the Campaign to Legalize Abortion around their necks to show their dedication to the cause as they flocked to the streets more than 120 cities. They stood together Vigil For almost 12 hours, the Argentine Senate debated a law to legalize abortion.

Shortly after 4 am On Wednesday, as hundreds of thousands waited on the steps of the palace of the Argentine National Congress, the news came: With 38 votes in favor, 29 against and 1 abstention, abortion has been legalized. Crowds cheered and sobbed with relief. On social media, the once popular hashtag # SeráLey (#ItWillBeLaw) has been replaced with #EsLey (#ItIsLaw). Feminists, not only in Argentina but also in other Latin American countries like Ecuador and Mexico, promised each other that “Latin America will be completely feminist”.

Previously, Uruguay, Cuba, and two Mexican states were the only regions in Latin America that for some reason guaranteed a first trimester abortion. In other countries, such as Chile and Peru, abortion is possible under certain circumstances, including rape, incest, deformity of the fetus, or risk to the health of the mother – or, as in El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, completely banned. That is why the abortion debate in Argentina made international headlines in 2018 as millions of feminists waited on the streets for a Senate vote after legislators passed a bill in the Lower House of Congress to legalize abortion. Although the Senate bill narrowly failed, the campaign brought to light a once taboo topic and sparked a nationwide and continent-wide movement to legalize abortion nicknamed the “Green Wave”.

The next year, when the presidential elections were held in Argentina, Peronist candidate Alberto Fernández and his fellow campaigner, former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, knew they had to embrace the green wave to win the youth election. When Fernández took office in December 2019, he promised to fight for the law.

However, the green wave didn’t start with that in 2018 pibasor children who popularized the pro-choice movement. Or even in 2005, when the Feminist National Campaign for Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion submitted its first bill to legalize abortion to Congress in Argentina. It started sometime in the late 1970s when the “Grandmothers“The green wave lived in European exile, awaited the military dictatorship of Argentina and organized themselves with French, Italian, US and other Latin American feminists as part of the burgeoning women’s liberation movement.

Öne this grandmother was Dora Coledesky, a Trotskyist labor organizer and lawyer, born in Buenos Aires in 1928 and raised in the conservative northern city of Tucumán. When the dirty war broke out in Argentina in 1976, Coledesky and her husband fled the country like many leftists. When she landed in France, where abortion had been legalized the previous year, she joined the Feminist Revolutionary League, where she organized with Europeans and other exiled Latin Americans from Chile, Uruguay and Brazil. When Argentina’s military dictatorship ended in 1984, Coledesky and her feminist colleagues returned – eager to organize for change in their own country. Coledesky himself initially joined the women who stayed in Argentina during the dictatorship – such as Magui Bellotti and Marta Fontela, who founded a group called ATEM 25 de noviembre in 1982, or the Association for Women’s Work and Study, which takes place annually in the November met 25.

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