Protesters holding up green bandanas to support abortion in Argentina.

dalesmm/Twitter Remix by Samantha Grasso

Argentina might have said no to legal abortion—but activists have already launched a ‘green wave’

Across the world, people were rooting for abortion rights.


Samantha Grasso


Posted on Aug 9, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 9:07 am CDT

Early Thursday morning, the Argentinian Senate shot down a bill that would have allowed women to have an abortion within the first 14 weeks of her pregnancy.

Currently, women in the country are allowed to have an abortion only if the pregnancy is threatening the mother’s life, or if it was conceived through rape.

According to CNN, the Senate voted against the legislation 38 to 31, with two voters abstaining and one absent. Despite growing support for the bill following its passage through the lower house of Congress in June, the policy lost steam after a senator supporting the bill withdrew her position over the weekend.

Activists told CNN that, disappointment aside, they’ll continue to push for the bill. According to the Guardian, an estimated 3,000 Argentine women have died as a result of illegal abortions since 1983, and between 45,000 and 60,000 women are hospitalized annually as a result of complications from illegal abortions.

Using green bandanas, a symbol of abortion rights, Argentinian activists launched a “green wave” throughout the bill’s evaluation in Congress, and, in turn, have launched an international movement.

Leading up to the vote, protesters around the world shared their solidarity with Argentina, wearing all green and using green bandanas. Using the hashtag #AbortoLegalYa, meaning “Legal abortion already” in Spanish, allies shared snapshots of demonstrations, signs of protests, and lots of poignant green.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, protesters demonstrated and wrote letters to the Argentinian Embassy to emphasize the importance of passing the bill, and effectively decriminalizing abortion—at least, for women 14 weeks pregnant or less.

Some people even made works of art in support of the bill—often with nonfictional female characters. Yes, even the little girl from The Ring was memed into a green wave bandana. But, hey, who’s to say she wouldn’t’ve been a supporter of reproductive rights?

On the day before the vote, Amnesty International ran an advertisement in the New York Times depicting a white hanger under the phrase “Adiós,” or “Goodbye” in Spanish, telling the Argentinian Senate that the world was watching them. The ad metaphorically says goodbye to unsafe methods that women use in order to get an abortion when one is not legally or financially available to them. The message reportedly became a trending Twitter topic in Argentina.

Argentina is a majority-Catholic country and the birthplace of Pope Francis. While the pope hadn’t spoken out about the bill, he did make a statement against abortion in the days prior to its vote, “comparing abortion to avoid birth defects to Nazi eugenics,” CNN reported. He had also issued a letter in March, after the launch of the bill, telling the country to defend “life and justice.”

The Guardian has characterized the bill’s loss, following Ireland’s legalized abortion referendum less than three months ago, as proof that the Catholic Church’s power has “merely shifted south.” According to the Clarín newspaper, the Guardian reported, Pope Francis personally asked anti-abortion lawmakers to urge their fellow senators to vote against the bill.

H/T the Cut

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*First Published: Aug 9, 2018, 10:34 am CDT