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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (ChurchMilitant.com) - Argentina is fighting for its life as hundreds of thousands send a message to President Alberto Fernández, that "every life matters."
The era of Wuhan lockdown did not stop the determination of Argentinians in defending their most vulnerable. A digital march, lasting two hours on Facebook and YouTube, featured participation of popular pro-life leaders, including Mexican actor and producer Eduardo Verástegui. Preliminary counts by march organizers had 390,000 participants on Facebook alone.
Current law in Pope Francis' homeland prohibits abortion, except in cases where the mother's life or health is in danger or when the mother has been raped. Fernández is currently pushing for a bill in the country's legislature to legalize prenatal homicide (abortion).
In March, a legalization measure was on the verge of being introduced, but the Wuhan pandemic broke out and forced its postponement. Nonetheless, in a controversial move, Fernández sidestepped the process by ordering Minister of Health Ginés González García to issue new protocols on Dec. 12, 2019, widening the circumstances for which a legal abortion can be obtained.
Legislative pro-life leader Sen. Silvia Elías de Pérez stressed that the march was "very positive." She added that a 2018 bill that would have expanded abortion in Argentina was defeated, in part because of "a huge number of Argentinians who throughout the country came out to defend their ideas, their rights, to say that in Argentina every life matters and that being born in Argentina should not be a right only for those who are wanted."
Argentina's March for Life in May 2018 drew an estimated 3 million participants in multiple cities around the country. The 2020 digital march, said Elías de Pérez, can serve "as a new point of departure" assisting pro-life groups to "get back on track again, back to work, because we have to take up the fight again."
The senator expressed her bewilderment that in such a life-threatening time when the nation struggles to save lives from a dangerous virus, politicians want to attack life. "It is extremely sad, dramatic, that in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, in which we are fighting for people’s lives, it still occurs to a government to send (to the legislature) this kind of anti-life initiative," she lamented.
The stakes are high, she realizes. "So what's important once again is to put our minds and passion at the service of this cause, which is the noblest of all because it means fighting for the preservation of the human race, understood as preserving life in all its stages," she said.
In August 2018, Argentinian lawmakers voted against a bill that would have legalized abortion in the country throughout all nine months of prenatal life.
Currently, close to 200 organizations throughout Latin America are calling on national leaders to emulate the Trump administration by repudiating efforts of the United Nations to impose infanticide as an "essential" medical service in the midst of the Wuhan pandemic. Members of the Blue Wave pro-life movement across Latin America are calling attention to diplomatic efforts to ensure that abortion and contraceptive services remain "essential."
Connie Pallitto, 24-year-old co-founder of Jovenes por la Vida (Youth for Life), a pro-life movement of young people within the Blue Wave, is both realistic and determined about ending the killing of the innocent preborn children in her country.
Speaking on current pro-life legislation in Argentina, she said, "We didn't manage to stop abortion in Argentina, and we cannot cover the sun with our hands. What was accomplished was to stop the legalization of abortion, but this is a Band-Aid. We still have a long way to go. That's why [it] doesn't symbolize a victory but a reaffirmation of our commitment in favor of human life."
That commitment is being ramped up now that the president is seeking to legalize abortion on demand.
As the government prepares a bill that would decriminalize prenatal murder and make it "safe, legal and available to all women," the bishops' conference launched a campaign titled "Yes to women, yes to life," which culminated with Mass on March 8, International Women's Day.
Although no public word has been heard from Pope Francis on the threat of abortion legislation in his home country, he welcomed the new president Fernández to the Vatican for a private audience in January. They spoke for 45 minutes. It was clear their discussion would focus on the dire economic situation in Argentina, where immediate action is needed to deal with the problem of widespread hunger.
It was expected that they would discuss Fernández's decision to introduce legislation to decriminalize abortion, but the Argentine president told a group of journalists he hadn't discussed abortion during his visit with the pope and the Vatican's secretary of state, Cdl. Pietro Parolin. Yet, in a statement released afterwards, the Vatican said the matter of the protection of life from the moment of conception had been on the agenda.