Photo via Wikimedia.

What’s Argentina’s Policy On Abortion?

According to Article 85 of the nation’s criminal code, a woman who causes or consents to having an abortion may face a prison term from one to four years. A person who administers an abortion may face prison for three to 10 years if he or she acts without the woman’s consent, and for one to four years if acting with the woman’s consent. The only circumstances under which abortion is not a criminal offense are, according to Article 86, the following:

  • There’s a danger to the mother’s life or health.
  • The pregnancy was the result of rape or abuse committed against a woman mentally incapacitated. In this case, a person speaking on the woman’s behalf must give consent to abort.

A 2012 Supreme Court ruling amended the law to allow all rape victims – not just mentally disabled women – to legally have abortions. However, rape victims must provide signed affidavits declaring they were raped.

According to an article published by Clarín, civil rights associations have determined that out of the country’s 25 jurisdictions, only eight respect the court’s ruling while nine others have no protocols regarding abortion. The others make it difficult for women to access non-punishable abortions.

In March, Health Minister Daniel Gollán reported that 500,000 illegal abortions are performed in the country every year, making it the main cause of death to mothers.

Abortion hasn’t been debated in Congress since an unsuccessful debate was launched in November 2014.

What Are The Candidates’ Stances On Abortion?

Daniel Scioli – Victory Front

Contrary to his usually ambiguous statements, the FpV candidate actually made his opinion clear when he stated he was against the decriminalization of abortion a few weeks ago: “It’s a topic on which I have a contrary opinion,” he said during an interview with Radio Con Vos, where he also pronounced himself against the legalization of marijuana consumption.

Mauricio Macri – Cambiemos

To find out what the Cambiemos coalition candidate thinks about abortion, we have to go back to the unsuccessful abortion debate that took place in the Lower House in November 2014: “I’m without a doubt pro-life,” the candidate said.

However, Macri has done a pretty good job avoiding the matter during the election year. Let’s recall that when moderator Luis Novaresio asked each candidate what their stance on abortion was during the presidential debate, Macri used every trick in the How To Be A Politician book to not provide any conclusive feedback.

Sergio Massa – A New Alternative

Macri may have done a good job memorizing the aforementioned How To manual, but after looking at Sergio Massa’s statements regarding abortion, it looks like this guy actually wrote it. When consulted about the subject in an interview with Radio Vorterix a few days ago, the candidate put Scioli’s ambiguous statements to shame when he said that, “Argentina needs to have an honest and transparent debate about abortion. Everyone has to express their opinion in Congress, which is the Argentine people’s genuine place of representation.” Tears, people, tears.

The magic didn’t stop there. When journalist Reynaldo Sietecase called him out for not answering, Massa said his stance was to “give every lawmaker the possibility to decide their stance according to their conscience.” When pressed, Massa finally answered he’d reveal his stance when “the topic was debated.” Close call there.

Margarita Stolbizer – Progressive Front

Stolbizer is a firm defender of women’s rights and straight up pro-choice, so much so that she co-sponsored the abortion bill that led to 2014’s unsuccessful debate.

In her platform, the Progressive Front candidate also promises that, if elected, she’ll pass a bill to legalize abortion during the first 100 days of her presidency: “We’ll regulate and legalize abortion. We’ll help women and girls access healthcare based on prevention and making independent decisions,” reads a part of the proposal.

Nicolás del Caño – Leftist Workers’ Front

The Leftist Workers’ Front candidate has also been clear about his pro-choice position. In fact, he was the only candidate to actually provide a direct answer to Luis Novaresio when asked about it during the presidential debate:

“We’re in favor of abortion, which is a basic right we should have so 300 women don’t die every year,” he stated. He also took a swipe at Scioli for his position on the topic a couple days ago: “It seems he doesn’t care that every year, over 300 women die  of clandestine abortions and that’s why he keeps defending its penalization.”

Adolfo Rodríguez Saá – Federal Commitment

After a thorough search, we concluded the Federal Commitment candidate hasn’t provided a single statement regarding abortion during the last year.

What Do Argentines Think About The Issue?

In July 2015, Ibarómetro conducted a national poll and surveyed 1,200 people about their opinions on several subjects, including abortion. The results concluded that while 46.4 percent of Argentines believe abortion should be decriminalized, 47.8 would rather maintain the status quo.

However, another poll called for by Amnesty International and carried out by IPSOS in June determined that 8 out of 10 Argentines believe Congress should at least debate the subject. Also, 58 percent of those surveyed said candidates should make public their stance on the issue.