For our right to legal, safe and free abortion

August 9, 2018

After a long debate, the Argentine Senate refused to legalize abortion by a 38-31 vote early Thursday morning. As senators deliberated, hundreds of thousands of women — maybe as many as 1 million — flooded Buenos Aires despite bad weather to demand their right to legal, safe and free abortion.

As Socialist Worker wrote in June, “Although abortion is illegal, estimates put the number of abortions conducted in secrecy each year between 370,000 and 520,000. As a consequence, approximately 49,000 women end up in the hospital each year in Argentina owing to medical complications from back-alley abortions.” Although the Senate’s vote is a slap in the face of millions of Argentine women, it comes only weeks after the lower house, the National Assembly, voted 129 to 123 to legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Coming on the heels of the stunning victory of a constitutional referendum in Ireland on May 25 in which 66.4 percent of voters supported legalized abortion and a mass strike by women in the Spanish state on March 8 against gender violence, pay inequity and misogyny, women in Argentina have developed one of the most powerful social movements in the world and are in no mood to let the Senate stand in their way. They are faced with powerful reactionary forces — for instance, Pope Francis, an Argentinian himself, and the Catholic hierarchy are staunch opponents of a woman’s right to choose. And even as President Mauricio Macri of the conservative Republican Proposal (PRO) party promised not to veto the law, his government is making drastic cuts in sex education, contraception and anti-violence programs.

Here, we reprint an international solidarity statement initiated by Democracia Socialista in Argentina and circulated the day before the Senate’s vote.

ON AUGUST 8, a decisive day for the Argentinian feminist movement will arrive. The historical effort for a law for the decriminalization and legalization of abortion will finally be voted on in the national Senate.

The battle against the largely conservative forces of that chamber and countrywide won’t be an easy conquest to achieve.

The number of votes change day by day, and also the most hesitant positions appear in the form of “reforms” and alterations to the original draft, presented by the Campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito (National Campaign for Legal, Safe and Free Abortion) in the lower chamber, which is one of the best projects we could get during years of feminist debate and learning from similar public policies around the world.

Thousands pack the streets outside Argentina’s Senate to demand legalized abortion
Thousands pack the streets outside Argentina’s Senate to demand legalized abortion

That being said, we emphasize: We demand the fulfillment of our (un)reproductive rights and call for massive activism to take the streets once again as we did two months ago, when the struggle won us the approval of the lower chamber.

The challenge will be complex, but we’re hopeful to double the 1 million we reached in June, and be 2 million supporters in front of the Congress to collectively say: We want legal abortion for all now! Women’s and feminist organizations, LGBT+ collectives, social and political organizations and unions committed to the struggle: We’ll be there together.

We call for international solidarity with this struggle and to organize ourselves to mobilize in our own communities, in the streets and squares, and at Argentinian embassies on August 8.

We believe it is a duty for everyone of us who defy patriarchal and heteronormative social conventions, whose identities are always under the microscope or being hunted, who want autonomy of our bodies and life decisions, and who believe in an intersectional and revolutionary feminism, to support such meaningful cause everywhere in the world.

Buenos Aires, August 7, 2018


Signers

Democracia Socialista (Argentina)
Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (France)
Insurgência / PSOL 50 (Brazil)
Anticapitalistas / Podemos (Spanish state)
Sinistra Anticapitalista (Italy)
Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores Sec. mexicana IV (México)
Coordinadora Socialista Revolucionaria (México)
Socialist Resistance (Great Britain)
International Socialist Organization (U.S.)
Solidarity (U.S.)
Movimento Esquerda Socialista / PSOL 50 (Brazil)
Tendencia Socialista Revolucionaria (Chile)
Corriente Amaru (Perú)
Movimiento Ecosocialista de Colombia (Colombia)
Cinzia Arruzza (IWS-U.S.)

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