Amnesty International has taken out a provocative advert that will appear in 134 countries on the eve of the vote to decriminalize abortion in Argentina. An image of a coat-hanger, a stark symbol long-associated with unsafe and clandestine abortions, will highlight the deadly consequences of the current law, and remind Senators that they have the power to save many lives by voting to decriminalize abortion.
“We want to send a message to Argentina’s Senators that the world is watching to see whether they will do right by women and end the grave suffering caused by criminalizing abortion,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director of Amnesty International.
“The millions of Argentine women and girls who have campaigned so passionately for their rights should know that people all over the world are standing in solidarity with them today. It is now time for the Senators to show that they stand by women too”, said Mariela Belski, Executive Director of Amnesty International Argentina.
The full-page, all-green advert, in solidarity with the colourful green women’s rights protests that have become ubiquitous across Argentina, will appear on the back-page of the New York Times International edition. It features the word “Adiós” above the image of a coat-hanger.
“Complications arising from unsafe abortions are one of the leading causes of maternal deaths in Argentina. Criminalizing abortion does not stop abortions from happening – it just makes them unsafe and dangerous,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.
“Tomorrow, Senators in Argentina have the chance to stop a legislation that has punished women for their reproductive decisions and condemned them to suffering. This could be the beginning of a more humane and compassionate society that recognizes the human rights of pregnant people.”
Access to abortion is only legal in Argentina when the life or health of the pregnant person is in danger, or where the pregnancy is the result of rape. But in practice many pregnant people are denied the health procedure and forced to seek out dangerous alternatives. It has been the leading cause of maternal deaths in the country for the past 30 years.
Over the last 60 years, more than 30 countries have changed their laws to allow for greater access to abortion. Argentina could join this list if Senators vote to pass the bill on August 8. The national debate in Argentina also stands as a beacon of hope for the rest of Latin America, where currently only Cuba, Uruguay and Mexico City have decriminalized abortion in all circumstances.