BUENOS AIRES (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bishop Alberto Bochatey and pro-life activists are denouncing the president of Argentina for keeping a campaign promise to radically change the country's criminal statutes on abortion, which are already quite liberal, while squelching conscientious objectors.
President Alberto Fernández said during his 2019 presidential bid that he would see to eliminating most restrictions to elective abortion. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Fernández had initially delayed introducing his Legal Pregnancy Interruption bill in the nation's Congress. But on Nov. 17, Fernández issued a statement and campaign-style video on Twitter, announcing "Promises made, promises kept," in reference to his decision to introduce the bill.
Articles in the proposed law would apply throughout the country and include:
Physicians and other medical personnel who object to abortion on the basis of conscience would have little protection, contend pro-life activists who point to articles in the law that demand that they "adopt measures to guarantee abortion" and refer patients to abortion "without hesitation."
On Nov. 19, Bishop Bochatey told Tito Garabal on Radio Grote, a product of a Catholic workers' movement:
It is obvious that President Fernández is very committed to pro-abortion groups and lobbies. It is truly terrible that the president should want to implement this campaign promise even while the rest of his promises he has not fulfilled, for example, the number of unemployed due to layoffs. This leads me to believe that he is using the abortion issue as a shield. It is truly awful.
Bochatey told radio listeners, "With the approval of this law, it will be the first time that an Argentine legislature, in more than 200 years of our democracy, will take up a law to commit murder. We've never had laws for killing human beings, and now they want to approve it for kids."
Given the millions spent on contraceptives, Bochatey asked:
How do they continue saying that there are between 370,000 to 500,000 abortions in Argentina? That would be more than 1,000 abortions each day or 50 per hour. No health system could sustain those numbers.
They say that many women die because of clandestine abortions. However, if there were so many women dying because of this, where are the bodies? They would have to bury them; a doctor would have to fill out the death certificate and relatives take them to the cemetery. Hasn't any family member ever said anything about this?
President Fernandez apparently felt compelled to address the bishop's remarks directly, saying: "The only commitments I have made are to the State and to all pregnant women, to their prospects of motherhood and [to] preserve the life and health of those who decide to interrupt pregnancy."
Faro Films, an Argentine video production crew, has produced videos that criticize the Argentine president for saying in reference to COVID-19 restrictions, "If an economy falls, we can make it rise up again. But a life is lost, we will never recover it," while advancing on his abortion and LGBTQ agenda.
Contacted by Church Militant, Argentine pro-life campaigner Marcela Errecalde warned that the law currently proposed is "worse than ever."
"It is an example of his cynicism," she told Church Militant in reference to Fernández, "because while he has imposed the strictest health measures in Argentina's history, he is going ahead with his campaign promise to take human life."
On Nov. 28, thousands of pro-life activists are expected to gather at the iconic Obelisk in central Buenos Aires to march on Congress to demand that human life in the womb be guaranteed. As part of the continent-wide pro-life Ola Celeste (Blue Wave), thousands more are expected to march on Argentine embassies in North and South America.
In June 2018, a similar abortion law was narrowly defeated in Argentina's Senate after it was approved in the Chamber of Deputies. Argentines came out in their thousands, for and against the measure, following multitudinous marches by pro-abortion feminists and pro-life activists. Under the slogan "Yes, to both lives!" pro-life campaigners marched in the thousands with little incident.
A riot broke out outside Congress, however, on the day the bill failed to pass. Wearing their iconic green neckerchiefs, the mostly young rioters threw rocks while shouting "Smash everything!" and directed their ire at the Catholic Church and pro-life politicians. In the month following, leftist students shut down high schools and universities throughout the country to demand passage of the law.
Since 2018 the Ola Celeste (Blue Wave) movement has united Latin American pro-lifers going to the streets to oppose abortion as well as euthanasia.
Eloquent pro-life speaker Mariana Rodríguez Varela told Church Militant the 2018 debate on abortion turned back the proposed elimination of protections for unborn human life, and "recognized the unborn as human beings ... What they are trying to do now is find excuses to take human life any way."
She said that pro-abortion businesses and organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have been very notable in diminishing the human rights of the unborn.
"The Argentine people are going to unleash a great battle on the streets this Nov. 28 so that the whole world can see that the bright torch of life and truth is still aflame in Argentina. And it is clearly within the womb of every woman who carries a child within her," Rodríguez Varela said.
Argentina's Catholic bishops recently released a statement saying that, given the current public health situation, "any attempt to offer and discuss a law of these characteristics is untenable and inappropriate."
The Argentine Christian Alliance of Evangelical Churches warned in a statement that congressional debate "will provoke demonstrations" from defenders and detractors. It added, "This is not the time to discuss abortion; we are in the middle of a pandemic."