March 20, 2018
Women’s reproductive rights are a global issue. Around the world, women in many countries have restricted access to sexual health services including abortion, which goes against a woman’s human right. Developed countries have been meeting the rights of women as a result of mass protest. Argentina and is lawmakers are following these countries to ensure women’s reproductive rights are met.
Argentinean lawmakers belonging to a bipartisan group proposed on 6 March 2018 that women should be able to exercise their “human right to health, by voluntarily interrupting their pregnancy” . The name of this bill is Voluntary Termination Pregnancy. It would give women the right to terminate their pregnancy within the first 14 weeks. The bill also includes that women can terminate their pregnancy if the pregnancy was a result of “violation” (rape), risk to the woman’s life (mental, physical and social) and if there are any foetal abnormalities (severe disability).
Written consent from the woman is needed before any termination is performed. For girls aged 13-16, the law states there must be a level of “aptitude and maturity” for consent to be provided. Girls under the age of 13 are required to have a parent or legal guardian present.
This law is much needed as there is a growing issue of illegal (“back street”) abortions in Argentina, where approximately 27% of maternal deaths are due to complications surrounding abortion. This should be considered a high priority issue, as Argentina is among the countries with a medium to high maternal mortality rate.
According to the Argentinean Minister of Health, “the criminalization of abortion that prevails in many countries prevents access to safe procedures, which creates risks to the life and health of the women.” Argentina should be able to provide such services to ensure women who want to have children can do so without any issues and allow those who want to terminate pregnancy to do so in excellent sanitary conditions. This will reduce the number of women dying as a result of being denied their wish to terminate a pregnancy which was unplanned or not wanted due to personal reasons.