Illegal Abortion in Argentina: Understanding the Underlying Factors – Abstract

Argentina is one of the seventy-five countries in the world that prohibit abortion in most cases, and Latin America contains one-fourth of all countries with such restrictions. Even though there are strong social movements calling for the legalization of abortion in Argentina, such as the Campaña Nacional Por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito, past attempts at legislation for legalization have failed and no new attempts have been taken up. Argentina presents a paradox in ideologies in that it is a traditionally Catholic country that was one of the first countries in the Western hemisphere to legalize gay marriage but abortion remains illegal and criminal.

My research will explore the question of the illegality of abortion in Argentina, coming from a feminist theory perspective and looking at the successes and failures of social movements. The questions I hope to answer are:

  • What patriarchal structures maintain the illegality of abortion?
  • What is the the role of the Catholic Church in preventing the legalization of abortion and how much power does the Church really have in Argentina?
  • How is the issue of same-sex marriage and its legalization similar and different to the issue of abortion?
  • What are the roles of feminist organizations and social movements for the legalization of abortion in Argentina? What are the successes and limitations of these organizations and movements with regards to the fight for legalization?
  • Finally, what are the differences between abortion rights and the fight for legalization in Argentina with neighboring Uruguay (where abortion is legal) and Chile (where abortions are prohibited in all cases)?