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.
Bajando un cambio https://t.co/oDe8LNI80D
— Federico Pinedo (@PinedoFederico) June 24, 2018
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.”
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.
Lo patrón macho de estancia que hay que ser para mandar a una mujer a "bajar un cambio" mientras habla del aborto que como varón no vas a experimentar nunca. Además de la creencia de que tu comentario va a surtir efecto, que vos "tenés que ponerla en su lugar".
— MaGui LóPeZ ? (@Tia_MaGui) June 24, 2018
— ?Florencia? (@fetcheves) June 24, 2018
Todo bien con los memes y con las amistades pero Federico Pinedo votó en contra del matrimonio igualitario, en contra de la legalización de la interrupción voluntaria del embarazo y ahora responde con este tweet a una nota con argumentos y razones: https://t.co/YgIk7oXOVk
— Tomás Balmaceda (@capitanintriga) June 24, 2018
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.