Abortion is “Non-Negotiable”: Archbishop of Santa Fe, Argentina

Fri Nov 7, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

SANTA FE, Argentina, November 7, 2008 ( - In response to an initiative in the Argentine province of Santa Fe to loosen abortion restrictions, Archbishop Jose Maria Arancedo has given a firm statement to the public: "Abortion is non-negotiable."

The archbishop’s statement was made in response to a proposal by provincial health minister Angel Capiello to eliminate the necessity of obtaining judicial approval for depenalized abortions.

Although Argentina’s constitution and criminal code is understood as prohibiting all abortions, the practice carries no criminal penalty in Argentina in cases of the rape of a mentally handicapped woman, or endangerment of the life of the mother.  However, the approval of a judge is required to waive the penalty.

"It concerns me that (this proposal) comes from an authority that has responsibility for the common good," said Arancedo.  "I believe that abortion must be seen for what it is.  It’s not necessary to keep repeating it. The act of abortion is imposed on the liberty of a person.  Where there is life there are rights.  The fetus that is being formed in the womb of his mother may be 20 days old, one month, but it already has rights, and therefore the law must protect those rights."

He added that "it’s necessary to help the girl (who is pregnant) but not to propose the unacceptable solution of abortion.  Abortion is not negotiable.  If life exists, it has rights and it is necessary to respect them."

Capiello, who openly supports socialist legislator Silvia Augsburger’s proposal to depenalize abortion on demand at the national level, has also remarked that "there is no obligation to report" clandestine abortions carried out by doctors without court approval.  Archbishop Arancedo’s response is clear: "I hope doctors don’t let themselves get involved in such measures.  How can one not report someone who has carried out an abortion? The position of the Church is respect for life and who says there is a life? Science says so."

Although the Argentinean government has been friendly to the pro-abortion movement in recent years, a reversal has begun at the national and state level.  Pro-life politicians have taken strong stands against the procedure, and recently-elected President Kristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s administration has generally opposed the loosening of abortion restrictions.

Related coverage:

Argentine Court Rejects Mom’s Attempt to Force Abortion on 12-Year-Old Daughter

Morning After Pill Prohibited by Argentine Province

Government of Argentina’s Largest Province Declares Itself "Pro-Life"

Argentina to Vote on Legalization of Abortion

Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires Rages Against Abortion "Death Sentence"

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