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In Argentina, exponential rise in "legal termination of pregnancy"

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Mobilization campaign for the legalization of the abortion in Buenos Aires (Argentina), 19 February. JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

They were hundreds of thousands, on August 9, 2018, to claim before the Congress that senators vote for the legalization of abortion. In vain. With five voices close, the bill was pushed back. "Will be ley! AT" ("It will be legal"), then chanted the protesters as an incantation, believing that it was only a matter of time before the law was finally passed.

A year later, women still can not voluntarily terminate their pregnancy in Argentina. And the subject is absent from the campaign of presidential and legislative elections of October 27th. However, the massive mobilizations that took place throughout 2018 and the many debates surrounding the bill had an unexpected effect: the exponential increase in legal abortions allowed by the criminal code.

The current law, which dates back to 1921 and which the feminist movement wants to expand, deprives abortion in two situations: in case of rape and in case of danger to health or life of the pregnant woman. But until recently, it was practically impossible to resort to what is known as a "legal interruption of pregnancy" (ILG, to differ from it). "Voluntary interruption, abortion), both doctors feared lawsuits. The women, ignorant of their rights, thus aborted, but in hiding. Public health centers practiced ILG very little.

"Machismo" in the northwest

And that's what changed after the debates and protests of 2018. In the city of Buenos Aires, according to figures from local health authorities, the number of ILG has gone from 91 in 2014 to 4,821 in 2018. An increase of more than € 5,200. In the province of Santa Fe, 400 km north of the capital, the increase is 2,800% between 2013 (76 ILG) and 2018 (2,138). And this increased access to safe abortions has had an impact on women's health. In Santa Fe, in 2013, in 80% of cases there were complications, while this rate fell to 10% in 2018.

Another indicator is to be taken into account. This is the number of calls to the free number created by the Ministry of Health for ILGs. This number has increased by 500% between the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2019, according to figures obtained by The world from this call center. Between 2017 and 2018, the increase is 150% across the country.