When Alberto Fernández was a presidential candidate during the summer of 2019, one of his main political positions was the decriminalization of abortion in Argentina, a country of 45 million people.
“I have made the political decision to decriminalize and legalize abortion because I do not want any more women to die. The first thing should be to decriminalize to end the clandestinity. We cannot ignore what is happening. It is a public health problem”, he said in August 2019.
He kept his promise. A little more than one year into his presidency, Fernández this month signed a law that allows abortion until 14 weeks of pregnancy and beyond that in cases of rape or when a woman’s health is at risk that was passed by the Senate on December 30.
Congress passed the bill backed by women’s rights proponents, despite strong opposition from Evangelical Christians and traditional Roman Catholics and disapproval voiced by Pope Francis.
“Today we have a better, more equal society,” said Fernández. “This is a great step towards equal rights, giving women the possibility to decide.”
A previous abortion bill was voted down by Argentine lawmakers in 2018 by a narrow margin.
Argentina became the largest nation in Latin America to legalize elective abortion and only the fourth joining Cuba, Uruguay and Guyana.