• Press Release

First step to decriminalize abortion in Argentina is historic for human rights

June 14, 2018

The bill to decriminalize abortion in Argentina, approved today by the Chamber of Deputies, is a fundamental step for the rights of women and people capable of conceiving, and a way of combating structural violence, said Amnesty International.

“We’re celebrating this first step taken by the Chamber of Deputies in its decision to move towards decriminalizing abortion. New legislation could end a vicious circle where women have no option but to risk their lives, their health, and their freedom if they are sent to prison. Classifying the legal termination of a pregnancy as a crime has no basis in international law,” said Mariela Belski, Executive Director of Amnesty International Argentina.

Under the current legal framework, Argentina adheres to the model of decriminalization on certain grounds, whereby an abortion is deemed illegal unless there is a risk to the life or health of the woman, or in cases of rape. The bill, which has just been passed by the Chamber of Deputies, completely decriminalizes abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. 

“Today, Argentina has committed to make significant progress in defending the human rights of women and girls, and is also sending an important message to the rest of the continent, where restrictive laws on accessing safe and legal abortions have caused death and suffering for millions of women and girls,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

“Very soon, Argentina could join places like Uruguay and Mexico City where abortion-related maternal mortality has decreased, in part thanks to complete decriminalization.”

The bill will now go through the Argentine Senate, which has the opportunity to finally take a definitive step towards full recognition of the rights of women and girls. Amnesty International reiterates the obligation of both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate to honour the international commitments that the country has made in terms of human rights, which are also enshrined in its National Constitution.