By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
March 20, 2008 (LifeSIteNews.com) – The Argentine congress may soon vote on a bill to legalize abortion-on-demand through the “back door”: a “regulation” for “non punishable abortions”.
The bill, which has floated around the National Congress for two years, has now received approval from the Chamber of Deputies’ Public Health and Assistance Committee as well as the Penal Legislation Committee, with support from allies of President Fernández de Kirchner. It will now be scheduled for a full vote.
The bill uses a strategy long pursued by pro-abortion forces in Latin America: it takes existing exemptions in the criminal code’s penalties for abortion and creates a “protocol” or “regulation” outlining in detail the cases in which the exemptions apply.
In Argentina’s case, all abortions are illegal under the Constitution, but not all are penalized by the criminal code. The exceptions include “eugenic abortions” for deformed fetuses, cases in which the mother is mentally ill or retarded, and medical conditions that endanger the health of the mother.
Although these exceptions have long existed in the penal code, they are rarely invoked due to the moral objections of many doctors, the social stigma attached to abortion, and the political risk if an abortion is not deemed to meet the criteria in a later finding. However, an explicit protocol outlining conditions which define “health risk” or “fetal deformity” make it easier for doctors to do and “justify” such abortions.
Moreover, such protocols include exemptions that would not otherwise be regarded as justified. This is especially the case when the definition of “health” is extended to include the psychological state of the mother or even her social situation. The Argentine bill includes “psychological” cases in its list of exemptions.
“While the legal back and forth and scientific discussions continue, (women) die because of clandestine and unsafe abortions or are forced to continue with a pregnancy they don’t want,” said the bill’s main promoter, socialist deputy Silvia Ausburger in a recent interview.
But deputy Paula Bertol disagrees. “The discretion of a doctor in establishing a psychological health risk can open the door to those who intend to decriminalize abortion in general,” she noted in an interview with La Nación.
The fate of the bill is still uncertain, but its progress is another sign that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner intends to continue the pro-abortion policies of her husband, ex-president Nestor Kirchner, many of whose cabinet officials have continued in their positions under Kirchner’s wife.
Although Fernández de Kirchner claimed to be pro-life just days before her election last year, an official in her administration recently sent a letter to members of the national congress advocating the legalization of abortion (see recent LifeSiteNews coverage at https://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/mar/08031803.html).
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See Previous LifeSiteNews Coverage:
Argentine President’s Administration Urges Parliament to Legalize Abortion, Homosexual “Marriage”
New Argentine Health Minister Gives Indications of Pro-Life Position
President-Elect of Argentina Cancels Pro-Abortion Legislation
President-Elect of Argentina Defends Pro-Abortion Position