In a landmark victory for women’s rights in Argentina, the South American country on Wednesday passed a bill to legalize abortion. The reform came into place after hours of debate in the Senate.
Pro-choice campaigners, who long-urged the authorities to put an end to dangerous backstreet terminations by legalizing the process celebrated the bill. Hundreds of thousands of illegal abortions are carried out every year in the nation of 44 million, sometimes at the risk of women’s lives.
Thousands of pro-choice activists cheered in the streets of the capital after the bill was approved 38 to 29, with one abstention. It legalizes voluntary abortions at any stage up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Amid the celebrations of the landmark bill, an old video of a massive gathering of women chanting pro-feminism slogans has gone viral once again.
“Down with patriarchy, it’s going to fall, going to fall,” the women in the rally say. The video was shared by Twitter user Kate Kelly as a reminder of how women’s struggles bore the fruit with the new bill recognising their right to choice of abortion. Kelly wrote that the rally had taken place before the covid-19 pandemic.”The fruition of years of work by all these women is happening in the Argentine Congress tonight,” she wrote.
Argentine women chanting:
🗣 ¡Abajo el patriarcado que va a caer, que va a caer!
🗣 Arriba el feminismo que va a vencer, que va a vencer.
(Loosely: Down with patriarchy— it’s going to fall, going to fall!
Up with feminism— it will overcome! Overcome!)pic.twitter.com/xZkYib1NnS
— Kate Kelly, Juris Doctor (@Kate_Kelly_Esq) December 30, 2020
Ahead of the vote, pro-choice and anti-abortion demonstrators had gathered outside parliament despite coronavirus fears.
“This fight was born in the streets,” Silvia Saravia, a pro-choice activist, told AFP.
The vote overturns a similar one in 2018 which, although also passed the lower house, ultimately foundered in the Senate by 38 votes to 31.
South America has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. In Argentina, terminations were allowed in only two instances: rape, and danger to the mother’s life.
(With inputs from AFP)