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9th August 2018, 10:49:34 UTC

The decision of the Argentine Senate to reject the draft bill to legalise voluntary termination of pregnancy during the first 14 weeks represents the loss of an historic opportunity for the human rights of women, girls and others who can become pregnant, Amnesty International said today.

“The Argentine lawmakers chose today to turn their backs on hundreds of thousands of women and girls who have been fighting for their sexual and reproductive rights. The senators who voted against this or abstained have therefore decided to agree on a system which forces women, girls and others who can become pregnant to undergo clandestine and unsafe abortions”, said Mariela Belski, Executive Director of Amnesty International Argentina.

“All that this decision does is perpetuate the circle of violence which women, girls and others who can become pregnant are forced into. The executive branch had sent a message by opening the debate, but the legislative branch has not risen to the occasion.”

The current model in Argentina – which criminalises the woman except in cases where there is a danger to the life or health of the woman, or in case of rape – has led to more than 3,000 Argentine women losing their lives over the past 30 years and a further 49,000 per year putting their health and lives at risk.

“The international community has called on Argentina on several occasions to amend its legislation as it violates the human rights of women and girls. The country has let this historic opportunity go to waste: the opportunity to become an example for the region and follow in the footsteps of Uruguay and Mexico City. It is an unforgiveable step backwards”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“The Argentine Senate’s decision is not going to stop abortions; it will just continue to force pregnant people into unsafe abortions. Here in Ireland, over 60 TDs and Senators signed a letter calling on Argentinian legislators to listen to the voices women, girls and people who can become pregnant. After the historic repeal of the Eighth Amendment on May 26th we know that change is possible. We will continue to work in solidarity with women’s movements in Argentina and internationally. This is a global movement and the momentum for change will continue to grow,” said Sorcha Tunney, Amnesty International Ireland’s Campaign Coordinator for ‘It’s Time’ campaign.

There will not be another opportunity to address this issue again until next year’s parliamentary term.