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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.
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.
— Kate Kelly (@Kate_Kelly_Esq) August 8, 2018
Argentina – Berlin stands with you in your struggle for free, safe & legal abortion access on this historic day #8A
The #MareaVerde is international! 💚💚💚
Ni una muerta más por abortos clandestinos. #PañuelazoInternacional #SeamosMillones #QueSeaLey #Germany #AbortoLegalYa pic.twitter.com/LHx0jblH6Y
— Berlin Ireland Pro Choice Solidarity (@ProChoiceBerlin) August 8, 2018
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.
— Mercedes DAlessandro 💚 (@dalesmm) August 6, 2018
— LeftVoice (@left_voice) August 7, 2018
— silvio💚 (@silviomargoni) August 8, 2018
— Kiddo (@Keeeeeeit) August 8, 2018
— francesca 🦋 (@dreamwithlali) August 8, 2018
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.
We're writing letters at Argentinian Embassy to support the bill to decriminalise abortion!
Senators of Argentina, your vote against this bill would endanger the lives of 1000s of Argentinian women and girls. #YouthPowerAction ✍🏾#AbortoLegalYa 💚#SenadoresQueSeaLey 💚 pic.twitter.com/hcYrdSbeTe
— Amnesty India (@AIIndia) August 6, 2018
— #EstamosHaciendoHistoria GBA zona Sur (@CampaAbortoSur) July 31, 2018
— Marina Magnani (@MarinaMagnaniOk) July 30, 2018
— @AbortoLegalMza (@abortolegalmza) July 25, 2018
Argentina's feminist "green wave" is spreading! Here are the scenes in Chile, where thousands of women marched in the capital to demand safe abortion 📷Claudio Reyes/ AFP https://t.co/pfJTLQat1Y #AbortoLegalYa pic.twitter.com/VtKXnisapr
— Kharunya Paramaguru (@Kharunya) July 31, 2018
— cande (@chaegayon) August 8, 2018
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?
stand with Argentina 4 the right of girls&women over their bodies & to abortion, to be voted in Congress on #8A wear green, join demos, sisters are everywhere /thanks @NosotrasParamos 4meme #SeraLey #AbortoLegalYa #PañuelazoInternacional #MartesVerde pic.twitter.com/ediiZCaY1g
— Pink, MyArse (@pinkmyarse) July 31, 2018
— Pepo (@pepo_sk8) August 8, 2018
— Juan Andrés Gallardo (@juanagallardo1) August 6, 2018
— Julieta H (@blahnkt) August 6, 2018
— LowCostMemes (@lowcostmems) August 8, 2018
— molokid 💚 (@Molokid) August 6, 2018
Empezó la cuenta regresiva: faltan 9 días para que el aborto sea ley en Argentina. En este hilo te contamos todo lo que tenés que saber sobre lo que se viene los próximos días #AbortoLegalYa @CampAbortoLegal pic.twitter.com/oiKPoDIr2d
— cosecha roja (@cosecharoja) July 30, 2018
— luján (@_lujjan) August 8, 2018
— bruce wayne (@hijadeposeidon) August 8, 2018
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.
In case you haven't yet picked up your copy of the @nytimes, here it is for you. Senators in #Argentina, we want to tell you that the world is watching. Will you stand on the right side of history… and justice? #AbortoLegalYa 💚💚💚 #adiós pic.twitter.com/65gW2UypuP
— Teresa Barrio Traspaderne (@tbtraspa) August 7, 2018
Picked up my copy of the @nytimes this morning on my way to work in London. In case you didn’t, here’s what’s on the back. Senators in #Argentina, ahead of the vote tomorrow, we just wanted you to know that the world is watching. #AbortoLegalYa 💚 pic.twitter.com/0UBRbPiRlM
— Val Voshchevska (@Val_Voshchevska) August 7, 2018
Amnesty's message to @SenadoArgentina in the NY Times today is trending in Argentina. No surprises why – the majority of people want to see abortion decriminalized. The world is watching #AbortoLegalYa 💚 pic.twitter.com/JgInz5m37P
— Kharunya Paramaguru (@Kharunya) August 7, 2018
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
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.