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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (ChurchMilitant.com) - Popular resistance to Argentina's new abortion law is growing, as evidenced by the refusal of a growing cadre of physicians to perform abortions.
Half of the physicians who treat women at Eurnekian Hospital near Buenos Aires have refused to participate in prenatal murder, dubbing themselves "conscientious objectors." According to the Argentine daily, Clarín, Dr. Juan Ciruzzi confirmed as much on Feb. 4, saying: "In case all of the medical professionals object to the law, the hospital has 10 days to refer that patient to another medical center to receive the appropriate care."
The "voluntary interruption of pregnancy" law went into effect in Argentina in January, thus fulfilling President Alberto Fernández's campaign promise to feminists, leftists and LGBTQ advocates who pressured the ruling Justicialist Party, especially in Buenos Aires. The law essentially established abortion as an affirmative right, allowing chemical and surgical abortion for women — and girls as young as 13 — throughout pregnancy. Women who claim fetal abnormalities, rape or a pregnancy that "endangers their lives," can obtain abortions free of charge.
Dr. Ciruzzi, the director of Eurnekian Hospital, said that while the conscientious objectors were not required to take part in abortion training, including the provision of misoprostol abortion, all physicians are required to come to the aid of women who experience post-abortion complications, such as bleeding or infection.
When women ask for an abortion at the hospital, he said they are given a pregnancy test that is followed by an ultrasound examination and counseling. If pregnancy is confirmed and the mother decides to end her unborn child's life, she is given an appointment to have the abortion procedure within 10 days, as prescribed by law.
"When there is a conflict of interest between the [minor] patient and adults," Ciruzzi told Clarín, "it is always the overriding interest of the patient that is taken into account." Under Argentina law, girls over the age of 16 are considered adults with regard to choices about medical care and their bodies. The doctor said that this means that girls can consent to abortion. However, for girls ages 13 to 16 who petition for abortion, written consent from parents or legal representatives is required. According to Argentine pro-life advocates, government officials, abortionists and representatives of pro-abortion groups can provide such consent for minors without parental consent or notification.
In contrast to Argentine pro-life advocates, who enjoy little international support, pro-abortion groups rely on funding from organizations such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and from the ruling Justicialist Party as well as from pressure exerted by the United States and United Nations.
Resistance is growing to the abortion law, largely pitting Argentina's libertine capital against the provinces of the interior, which are bastions of religion and tradition. In recent days, a provincial judge in Catamarca (which lies next to Argentina's border with Paraguay) issued a suspension of the abortion law that has infuriated abortion advocates and created a dilemma over whether protections for human life enshrined in her province's constitution trump federal law.
The blowback to the new abortion law is taking on an increasingly populist tone. Evidence of this can be seen in the Partido Celeste (Sky-Blue Party), an explicitly pro-life political party that was founded in 2018. Argentine activist Marcela Errecalde tells Church Militant that legacy media in Argentina as well as in the United States collaborated with pro-abortion groups and gave little or no coverage to more than 500 pro-life protests in cities and towns across the country in 2020. Much of the support for abortion, she says, is concentrated in Buenos Aires and the political class. The interior of the country and most of the country, Errecalde claims, remain "sky-blue and pro-life."
Errecalde is a member of the pro-life "Ola Celeste" (Sky-Blue Wave) movement that brings together like-minded groups throughout Latin America. She told Church Militant in an email that in late December 2020, Argentina's Congress passed what may be the most draconian abortion law in the world and that President Alberto Fernández personally pressured senators and provincial governors of the Justicialist Party and the wider Peronist movement to approve the bill. This came despite 70% public opposition to the bill.
Errecalde wrote that Fernández traveled throughout the country to woo politicians with promises of public works projects and other benefits. In 2018, the bill was narrowly defeated in Congress. Errecalde recounted that those "no" votes were successfully reversed by the administration that came to power in January 2020.
Errecalde and other critics of the law claim that it passed in Congress without the required approval of two-thirds of senators. Instead, the bill was passed by a simple majority.
Errecalde also reflected that direct action by anarchists, leftists and feminists "serve[d] as a vehicle for these extreme ideas to permeate in culture and education," adding that "it is worth remembering that promoters of abortion in Argentina are generally social scientists and artists rather than scientists in the field of health." It was this minority, she said, forced the country to accept a practice that is unpopular and abhorred by the majority.
The promoters of abortion, Errecalde notes, are animated by a false sense of equality that propels them to engage in revolutionary activity to achieve a "paradise of equality." She writes, "It seems to be just theoretical, but we see that the 'women's rights' protesters and their 'anti-male' posse continue to use the worn-out argument that men exploit us. That is why abortion is feminism's true victory." These groups, she contends, are seeking to overthrow the bases of society that were set down more than 2,000 years ago.
Paying tribute to the populist pro-life fervor, Errecalde affirms that "the street is sky blue," in reference to the color adopted by pro-life activists throughout the continent (in opposition to the emerald green used by abortion promoters). She observes that the author of the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, once wrote that it was nearly inconceivable that unconstitutional laws could be passed by a legislature.
She laments that "times have changed and we are now living with impressive modern constitutions ... and vile unconstitutional laws like [the abortion law]," adding that "countries that legalize the murder of innocent people are attacking the very edifice of human rights and, in our case, the Constitution." Errecalde holds that due to the degradation of the rule of law, the "last hope is in mercy on the part of the Supreme Court, which should rule that the [abortion] law is unconstitutional."
According to Errecalde, "In a democracy, a president who proposes a law like this should face impeachment. We have seen actions like this taken in other countries (like the United States) for less serious matters." Laws that undermine human life and family, she believes, "are no longer a private matter but a choice to make at election time."
Regarding U.S. President Joe Biden's elimination of the Mexico City Policy, which forbade taxpayer funding of abortion in Latin America and around the world, Errecalde opines, "We have seen that organizations such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation have funded front groups in our countries to push for abortion. We assume that the U.S. president supports that agenda ... so we are preparing to unleash very aggressive actions in the region."