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President of Argentina Javier Milei arrives to the Colon Theater for a gala event on December 10, 2023, in Buenos Aires, ArgentinaPhoto by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — Like many conservatives, I watched the rise of Javier Milei in Argentina with great interest – most notably, his opposition to abortion and the LGBT movement. I began following his career trajectory earlier than most not due to his economic policies – that is not my area of expertise, and I don’t claim any expertise on issues such as inflationary policy – but because of his suggestion that he might consider a plebiscite to repeal Argentina’s recent legalization of abortion. Milei detailed his pro-life stance during an interview with Tucker Carlson.  

“As a libertarian, we believe the liberalism entails the unrestricted respect for the lives of others,” he told Carlson. “Rooted in the principle of non-aggression and the defense of life, liberty, and property. If we believe these ideas of liberty, one of the most fundamental aspects is to defend the right to life. Philosophically speaking, I am in favor of the right to life. Beyond that there is the scientific justification. It is the fact that life begins at conception. It’s at that very instant that a new being begins to evolve with its own unique DNA.” 

READ: Argentine presidential candidate Javier Milei condemns abortion as ‘murder’ in Tucker interview 

“It is true that women have the right to their own bodies,” he continued. “But the child in a woman’s body is not her body. That child is not her body. That makes abortion a murder, enabled and aggravated by a power imbalance against a child that has no way to defend itself. Beyond that, there is a matter of mathematics. Life is a continuum with two quantum leapsbirth, and death. Any interruption in the interim is murder.” That qualifies as one of the best defences of the pro-life position I’ve ever heard from a politician. 

Javier Milei was elected last month and sworn in as president of Argentina on December 10. I reached out to several of my pro-life contacts in Argentina’s Blue Wave movement to get their reaction. I spoke with Alfredo Vítolo, a lawyer, previous legal advisor to the Argentine government, and professor of constitutional law and human rights and the University of Buenos Aires, at the Universidad Católica Argentina, and at the Universidad de Belgrano. He was kind enough to answer our questions. 

 

Jonathon Van Maren: What does the election of Javier Milei mean for the pro-life movement? 

Alfredo Vítolo: I believe the election of Javier Milei as president of Argentina brings great hope to those who support the pro-life movement. He has made several public declarations that he believes that what a woman carries in her womb is a person who deserves the full protection of the laws. His liberalism is based on the idea that a person’s liberty does not allow to affect others. His vice president, Victoria Villaruel, is also a strong defender of the rights of the unborn child. Several pro-life representatives and senators have also been elected and they may shift the balance in Congress.  

The newly appointed minister of health, although he has made no public statements as regards the abortion issue, has performed as secretary of health of the most pro-life municipalities in the greater Buenos Aires area. Notwithstanding, it is difficult to believe that radical changes will be adopted in the short term, since I believe the new government, who needs to get support from different parties to push forward its general economic policies, will be unwilling to open a discussion which will be extremely controversial. More likely, we will see strong actions aimed at discouraging abortions rather that a blanket change of the law. 

JVM: If a referendum were to be held, how would the pro-life movement respond? Are you optimistic about the result? 

Vitolo: While several polls indicate that the public support leans towards the pro-life position, I believe it unwise to submit the matter to a referendum. Our constitution is clear that treaties, as approved by Argentina, have constitutional status and, at the time Argentina ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, made an Interpretative Declaration in the following terms: 

Concerning Article 1 of the Convention, the Argentine Republic declares that the article must be interpreted to the effect that a child means every human being from the moment of conception up to the age of eighteen.

JVM: Much of the Western media coverage of Milei has focused on his more right-wing or libertarian proposals. What are we missing? 

Vitolo: Milei defines himself as “liberal-libertarian.” While his policies are yet to be seen, his positions are substantially different from the so-called extreme right of Europe and even from Donald Trump’s policies. His positions are far from being nationalistic or contrary to immigration and immigrant rights. I believe his policies will be more like those applied in most liberal democracies. 

JVM: What has the Blue Wave movement been doing since the legalization of abortion in Argentina? 

Vitolo: After the shock caused by the approval of the abortion in Argentina in 2020, the Blue Wave movementwhich is far from being a single, organized movement, but rather a unified network of people and organizations with different ideas and strategiesis still trying to reach to a consensus on how to raise awareness on the issue, and what position to take vis-à-vis the government entities. 

JVM: What should Westerners know about the pro-life movement in Latin America? 

Vitolo: While many of the pro-life persons in Latin America are religious people belonging to different creeds, the support to the pro-life movement is based not on religious but on medical, physiological, and moral grounds. Therefore, it is wrong to identify the movement with a particular religion or creed. 

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.

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