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Abortion Debate Drama: On Twitter, Federico Pinedo Tells Silvia Lospennato to ‘Take it Down a Notch’

The Senate president received strong criticism following the comment.

By | [email protected] | June 25, 2018 8:04pm

Conflict between Pinedo and Lospennato illuminates tension within the PRO party. (Photo via Infonews)

As Argentina’s bill to decriminalize and legalize abortion prepares to go to the Senate, legislators are attempting to reconcile their differing visions about what it should look like. Amidst the arguments and appeals being slung from either side of the debate, interim President of the Senate Federico Pinedo told Lower House PRO deputy Silvia Lospennato to “take it down a notch” on Twitter.

Lospennato, who has been one of the most vocal pro-choice legislators, shared via Twitter an opinion column from Aída Kemelmajer, a former judge from the Supreme Court of Mendoza. “You can’t fool everyone all the time,” Lospennato criticized some of the arguments coming from the pro-life camp. In turn, Pinedo took to the social media site to ask her to “bajar un cambio,” essentially telling her to chill out in a dismissive manner.

After the fallout, Lospennato commented that she spoke with Pinedo personally to sort out the debacle and prevent any further controversy over the issue: “I’ve known him for many years. That’s it, it’s something I cleared up myself.” She seeks to continue to focus on the core issue, remarking, “The important thing is the law, everything else is silly. The important thing is to discuss the law, not opinion. I don’t think that contributes to the debate.”

Before the final vote, Silvia Lospennato ended her moving speech to the Lower House in tears. (Photo via TD Malargüe)

However, the millions watching from the sidelines continued to share both accolades and sharp criticisms over the Senator’s comment. Twitter users defending Lospennato say the interaction highlights a patronizing, machista attitude among men in positions of power and a desire to silence women through intimidation or a simple disregard for what they have to say. Others noted the hypocrisy of Pinedo’s (and other lawmakers’) decision to oppose adoption by gay couples, only to then use adoption as a viable alternative to abortion.

Others pointed to the force of the abortion debate in deepening fissures within the Cambiemos coalition, especially as Vice President Gabriela Michetti – a vocal opponent of legalization – stalls the bill in a variety of Senate commissions. This particular intra-party quarrel isn’t the first sign of trouble in paradise: Elisa Carrió, a highly vocal (and unpredictable) Lower House legislator who voted against the bill in the Senate, remained silent until the debate was over, when she declared, “To all of Cambiemos, next time I will break everything up!”

By nature of being a coalition party, Cambiemos members are not expected to agree on everything. However, the prospect of passing legislation on abortion conjures up a particularly energetic response from all sides. The law to decriminalize abortion not only highlights (and possibly deepens) the existing fissures within the party, but also lays bare the latent biases with which lawmakers must contend if we hope for a real, honest debate in the Senate.