[Marxism] Argentina: 30, 000 at women's conference set fight to legalize abortion

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Nov 6 17:22:13 MST 2005

As Walter Lipmann pointed out when he published this on CubaNews,
abortion is not "decriminalized" in Cuba but totally legal as a normal
medical procedure available to all without conditions. But of course
that minor error is not the main point of the article which describes a
big advance in the fight for abortion rights in the Americas.
Fred Feldman

Vol. 69/No. 44 November 14, 2005

Argentina: 30,000 at women’s conference press fight to legalize abortion


SAN FRANCISCO—More than 30,000 women gathered in the coastal city of
Mar del Plata, Argentina, October 8-10 for the 20th National Women’s
Conference, reported the Argentine daily Clarín. At the center of the
conference was the fight to legalize abortion in Argentina. Last
year’s conference in Mendoza drew 20,000, and the year before about

Legal access to abortion remains severely restricted throughout most
of Latin America and the Caribbean. Only in Cuba, Guyana, and Puerto
Rico is abortion decriminalized. In Argentina, abortion is legal only
in the case of rape—and then only if the woman is deemed to be
mentally disabled—or if a woman’s life is in danger.

Nonetheless, an estimated 4 million women have abortions in Latin
America annually—most performed under clandestine and often dangerous
conditions. Some 800,000 of these result in complications that
require medical treatment.

In Argentina about four out of 10 pregnancies are terminated by
abortion. Ten years ago, Argentina was the only country in the region
that still provided no public support for access to contraception.
This has only just begun to change.

About 500 women die from botched abortions every year in Argentina,
the largest single cause of maternal deaths in the country.

Among the 46 workshops held during the conference were ones on “Women
and Work,” “Women and the Family,” “Women and Farmwork,” “Women and
the Unions,” “Women and Art,” and “Strategy in the fight for free,
safe and legal abortion.”

Rightists reportedly tried to disrupt the latter meeting. Women faced
similar confrontations in the last conference in Mendoza.

Among those in attendance was a delegation of members of the State
Employees Union, which organizes nurses and other staff at the
Garrahan Hospital in Buenos Aires. They have been holding one- and
two-day strikes since August demanding a wage increase.

On October 10, the last day of the conference, thousands of women
marched through the streets of Mar del Plata with the lead banner
reading, “Not one more death due to illegal abortion.”

Conference delegates resolved to continue the national campaign under
the slogan, “Sexual education so we can make a choice. Birth control
so we don’t have to abort. Abortion legalized so we won’t die.” The
campaign began May 28 with participants gathering signatures across
the country in favor of decriminalizing abortion. Over 70
organizations, including women’s groups and some unions have joined
in the effort, reported Página/12.

The conference resolved to set November 25 as a day of mobilization
to demand a woman’s right to choose abortion. A march to the
Argentine National Congress in Buenos Aires will be held to present
the petitions with this demand.

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