“Surviving an abortion is a class privilege.” Vigil in Buenos Aires during Congressional discussion on abortion in 2018. Image by Juan Diez at Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).
In the early morning hours of December 30, after more than a 13-hour session, and after an intense month of contrary opinions, “dirty campaigns,” protests and vigils in the streets, the Argentine Senate made history when it passed the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy Act. This Act legalizes the right to abortion, without restrictions or grounds, up to 14 weeks of gestation. It was passed with 38 votes in favor, 29 votes against, and one abstention.
With the passing of the bill, Argentina became the fifth country in Latin America to legalize abortion—after Cuba, Guyana, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay—and became the seventh on the entire American continent.
Since the beginning of his term that started in December 2019, President Alberto Fernández had promised to present the issue in the first days of March, but everything was suspended due to the emergency measures put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19. Following the pressure of feminist organizations from across the country, he finally sent the bill to Congress on November 16. The approval process was initiated on December 1 which culminated in the historic voting on December 30.
The first time they debated the proposed bill was in 2018. That time around, approval was obtained from the Chamber of Deputies but was later rejected by the Senate with a difference of seven votes. Despite the setback, the activism continued as the issue remained on the table and the campaign sought public approval for the bill; this served to strengthen the momentum of the “Green Tide” and support networks for those who needed access to safe abortion.
News reports about the passage of the Act are making headlines in national and international media. Jubilant celebrations filled the streets. On social media, there was also an abundance of expressions of joy. This was the message from Amnesty International Argentina:
Y de repente todo fue emoción.
Una victoria del movimiento de mujeres. #EsLey #AbortoLegal2020 pic.twitter.com/9p0OWyDvcG
— Amnistía Internacional Argentina (@amnistiaar) December 30, 2020
All of a sudden it was all emotionA victory for the women’s movement #EsLey (It’s Law) #AbortoLegal2020 (LegalAbortion2020)
These are some of the reactions from different corners of Argentina:
No hay palabras, solo sentires compartidos #EsLey 💚
Vídeo de @vicki_freire pic.twitter.com/qKfCiKTwoX
— Editorial Chirimbote (@ChirimboteEd) December 30, 2020
There are now words, only shared feelings #EsLey (It’s Law) 💚
Acabo de llegar sin poder aún creerlo.Me baño y se despierta Renata y lo primero que me dice es “es ley mamá?” “SI” le digo y nos fundimos en un abrazo que no olvidare en mi vida. Por Reni y por todas #EsLey 💚
— Rosario (@RoGarriga) December 30, 2020
I just arrived, and still can’t believe it.I took a shower and Renata woke up and the first thing she says to me “Is it law, Mom”. “YES” I tell her and we embrace in a hug that I will never forget in my life. For Reni and for all #EsLey (It’s Law) 💚
Hermosa mañana verdad? 💚 #ESLEY pic.twitter.com/J25poM7gS4
— Miaytsu (@Miggmicaela) December 30, 2020
Beautiful morning, right? 💚 #ESLEY (It’s Law)
#EsLey💚El Aborto es Legal: Argentina da un paso histórico a favor de la vida y la salud de las niñas, mujeres y personas gestantes.Así lo festeja #Cordoba #AbortoLegal2020 pic.twitter.com/Tulk4ZQ9ni
— Paula Hernández 💚 (@PaulidelSur) December 30, 2020
Legal Abortion: Argentina passes historic vote in support of life and the health of girls, women, and pregnant people.
This is how we celebrate #Cordoba #AbortoLegal2020 (Legal Abortion 2020)
Así se vivió en Mendoza#ESLEY #AbortoLegalYa #AbortoLegal2020 pic.twitter.com/qGwBD70UYe
— Cecilia Soria 💚✊ (@Ceci_Soria_) December 30, 2020
This is how (the city of) Mendoza celebrated #ESLEY #AbortoLegalYa (Legal Abortion Now)
Greetings from outside Argentina
There were also celebrations and congratulations on Twitter from abroad. These are some of the messages from Spain:
Me he despertado para ver que Argentina es más libre y feminista.
Ya nunca más nadie se verá obligada a parir. Argentina es más seguro para todas las mujeres💚#ESLEY pic.twitter.com/rxzO5ll8LW
— Madame Artichaut ♀💚🔻 (@alcachofit4) December 30, 2020
I’ve woken up to see Argentina more free and feminist. No one will ever be forced to give birth again. Argentina is safer for all women 💚#ESLEY
Al fin vuestra larga lucha tuvo recompensa.Enhorabuena, Argentina, el aborto ya #esLeyIlustración creada para @LaUltima_Hora pic.twitter.com/5ouobJ0fbe
— Luiso García (@luixo80) December 30, 2020
At last, their long struggle was rewarded.Congratulations, Argentina. Abortion now! #esLey
Felicidades, compañeras argentinas! Lo que habéis conseguido con vuestra lucha, significa derechos, significa dignidad, significa vida! ✊💚#ESLEY pic.twitter.com/mhusNM8p4N
— Chica Torpedo🔻 🤬😑😈 (@lachicatorpedo) December 30, 2020
Congratulations Argentine Friends! What you have achieved with your struggle means rights, it means dignity, it means life! ✊💚#ESLEY
Enhorabuena, Argentina! #EsLey #AbortoLegal2020
Foto: @/mayragiselle.r en Instagram pic.twitter.com/08zKQdGEdD
— ⚡Troyiqueer Ana🦄🍣🌈🍕 (@analadetuiter) December 30, 2020
Congratulations, Argentina! #EsLey #AbortoLegal2020
Photo: @/mayragiselle.r en Instagram
On behalf of the Chilean Feminist group HARTAS, they greeted Argentines with:
Así avanza la #MareaVerdeUn abrazo a todas las compañeras argentinas #AbortoLegal2020 #EsLey 💚 pic.twitter.com/bFef6cRRKd
— #HartasMujeres (@HARTASMujeres) December 30, 2020
This is how we move forward #MareaVerde (Green Wave)A hug to our Argentine friends #AbortoLegal2020 #EsLey 💚
The collective “No Te Calles” sent its congratulations from Mexico:
¡Sí se pudo Argentina!💚💚💚Desde México las felicitamos y abrazamos por su lucha incansable, ¡América Latina será toda feminista! #EsLey pic.twitter.com/cxoHUKQEJc
— ColectivaNoTeCalles (@NoTeCallesMor) December 30, 2020
Yes, Argentina achieved it! 💚💚💚From Mexico, we congratulate and embrace them for their tireless struggle, Latin America will be all feminist! #EsLey
From Bolivia, Artemisa says:
Ella me abrazaba mientras yo lloraba al enterarme la notica. Que buena forma de terminar este 2020. 💚#EsLey pic.twitter.com/82OUFOInyO
— Artemisa (@TuAquelarre) December 30, 2020
She hugged me while I cried when I heard the news. What a good way to end this 2020. 💚#EsLey
The news was also celebrated in Venezuela, and this is how one person responded:
Me despierto para enterarme que se hizo ley 💚 Años de lucha rindieron frutos. #EsLey
💚💚💚💚 La ola verde 💚💚💚💚
Tengo esperanza que en #Venezuela logremos está hazaña. pic.twitter.com/wS8PBx4HGS
— Mariana 💜🌺 (@Marifergui) December 30, 2020
I woke up to find out that the law was made 💚 Years of struggle paid off. #IsLaw💚💚💚💚 The green wave 💚💚💚💚I hope that in #Venezuela we will achieve this feat