BUENOS AIRES – Opposing positions within both the government and opposition parties on Wednesday characterized the debate in Argentina’s lower house of Congress on a bill seeking to decriminalize abortion up through the 14th week of pregnancy.
“It’s an historic day. For the first time, a bill to decriminalize and legalize abortion will be dealt with here, and this is occurring thanks to the struggle of thousands of woman and the decision of President Mauricio Macri to explicitly support the debate,” said Daniel Lipovetzky, with the governing Republican Proposal (PRO) party, at the start of the debate.
He said that “hundreds of clandestine abortions” performed each day in Argentina are a problem that Congress must resolve, adding that the bill up for debate “is not anticonstitutional,” but rather gives a woman the right to decide “what to do with her body” because this is not about “saving two lives, but rather saving thousands of lives.”
“Behind each woman who has died as the victim of a clandestine abortion there’s a story of life. Today, we have the opportunity to say ‘never again’ to death by clandestine abortion,” he said.
However, Carmen Polledo, also with Macri’s PRO within the Cambiemos coalition, said she was absolutely against the bill.
“I think that this debate stems from a true and proven scientific understanding: there is life from the first moment of conception. This truth ... obligates us to ask ourselves about a problem that we don’t deny, which is maternal mortality and abortion, what model of society do we want,” Polledo said.
Meanwhile, Gabriela Burgos, with the Radical Civic Union, also belonging to Cambiemos, urged creating “real policies” so that women do not have to go through the situation of having to get an abortion.
Frente Renovador lawmaker Carla Pitiot denounced the anonymous insults she said that legislators had received if they were known to be against the bill, saying “It might be retrograde, but I’m a retrograde 45-year-old with very firm convictions.”
Kirchnerist Peronist Mayra Soledad Mendoza said that the matter was one of “public health” that should not be dealt with using “moral, ethical, ideological ... or religious ... blinders.”
“We’re lawmakers and lawmakers have the obligation to legislate for a lay state, guaranteeing rights,” she said.