Jan 4, 2021
Overnight on December 28, millions of women in Argentina who support the right to abortion, and their allies, stood vigil in the streets in more than 120 cities and towns. Much of the country watched as a 12-hour debate on women’s healthcare rights was held in the legislature. At 4 a.m. on December 29, the Senate voted in favor of free, legal abortion. Crowds cheered and sobbed with relief. Argentina’s president will soon sign the bill into law.
This law will allow legal abortion during the first trimester for any reason. Argentina is now the largest Latin American country to legalize abortion, joining Cuba and Uruguay. The Roman Catholic Church and evangelical Protestant churches joined forces to oppose the legislation, but a growing movement of younger women pushed hard for change.
The symbol of the movement, green handkerchiefs, were waved everywhere by crowds, as they celebrated this victory. There was music and dancing all night. It was the culmination of years of grass roots organizing.
“I’m very emotional for all those who couldn’t be here today,” said one 29-year-old office worker. She explained that her friend, Marisa Sanchez, had died from an illegal abortion back when they were in high school.
The impact of this vote is expected to ripple across Latin America. Green handkerchiefs have begun showing up in other countries when young people have poured into the streets, demanding the right to abortion and demanding an end to violence against women. The fight continues!