Buenos Aires Times

culture PANUELAZO FOR ABORTION

Thousands demand abortion law reform in protest before National Congress

Activists from the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion led Monday's protest.

Tuesday 20 February, 2018
An activist shows off the bandana for the National Campaign for National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion at the National Congress.
An activist shows off the bandana for the National Campaign for National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion at the National Congress. Foto:PERFIL/Juan Ferrari

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A sea of green bandanas flooded the streets surrounding the National Congress building on Monday as tens of thousands of activists gathered to demand legal, free, and safe abortion in Argentina. 

The pañuelazo, led by the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion (Campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal Seguro y Gratuito), comes with tens of thousands of clandestine abortions carried out each year in Argentina and in the wake of repeated attempts to present bills to legalise abortion. 

The Campaign’s day of action began with a tuitázo, where activists and supporters of legal abortion across the globe took to Twitter to share statistics and personal experiences with the hashtag #AbortoLegalYa.

For some attendees, like Sofia Ortiz and Michelle Luna, this was their first pro-abortion demonstration. Both self-described feminists, Ortiz, 15 and Luna, 17, echoed the Campaign’s calls for a woman to be able to make decisions about her own body.

“If a woman no longer wants to be pregnant, if she didn’t want the pregnancy and it wasn’t planned or she doesn’t have the means to take care of a child, she should have the right to abort,” said Luna amid the chants and cheers of the crowd.

The protest also saw seasoned veterans of Argentina’s feminist movements come out once again to demonstrate. Nicolas Cernadas, 22, and Nicolas Wieczorko, 23, are both students at the University of Buenos Aires and are activists with the University Federation of Buenos Aires (FUBA).

Cernadas, who studies medicine and aligns himself with the Argentine Worker’s Party, explained there is a wuder change happening in society and that with Argentina suffering from one femicide every 18 hours, the fight for women’s rights is a vital necessity.

“The women’s movement doesn’t only fight for legal abortion, but it also fights more broadly for their rights,” said Cernadas. “The turnout today reflects the desire for a response to legal abortion and the need for the government to put forth a bill that is successful.”

The demonstration comes just weeks ahead of the nationwide strike planned for International Women’s Day on March 8.

For more information on the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion, visit www.abortolegal.com.ar.

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