Argentine Legislators Seek to Establish Abortion as Protected “Right”

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

  ARGENTINA, September 18, 2007 ( - Hearings were conducted yesterday in the Argentine Congress on several measures that would protect the practice of abortion in a broad number of cases, including the "health" or life of the mother, fetal deformities, and pregnancies caused by rape.

  The Penal Legislation Commission of the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of the Congress), heard testimony from four legal experts yesterday, two pro-abortion and two pro-life, on the possibility of several measures that have been under study in the Chamber. However, when pro-life and pro-abortion groups poured into the room in reaction to the hearings, they were cut short, and debate was closed after only two hours.

  Argentina’s constitution prohibits all abortions, commanding "respect" for the right to life from the moment of conception, but the existing penal code does not punish abortions that are carried out for certain purposes, including the health or life of the mother and cases of rape. Such abortions are called "non-punishable", even though they are not legal.

  The new legislation seeks to go beyond the existing penal code, which merely states that no punishment is provided for certain kinds of abortion.  At least one of the measures actually attempts to establish such "non-punishable" abortions as a "right", which would contradict the Argentine constitution.  The legislation also states that "judicial permission" is not necessary for such abortions, which would strip the right of judges to invoke the constitution to protect the unborn in Argentina.

  The legislative initiatives currently being examined by commissions in the Chamber of deputies stem from a recent case in the Argentine province of Entre Rios, in which a 19 year old retarded girl, known to the public only by her initials "MFC," was impregnated after being raped by a family member.  A provincial judge ruled that she could not have an abortion after an attorney involved made a preventative motion to protect the rights of the unborn child, as protected in the constitution (see recent LifeSiteNews coverage at  The case has been appealed twice and is now before the Supreme Court of Entre Rios.

  The legislation has already been approved by the Chamber of Deputies’ Public Health Commission, but it must be approved by the Penal Legislation Commission before it can be passed to the full Chamber for a vote.

  Meanwhile, Argentina’s leftist Kirchner regime is preparing a regulatory decree to accomplish the same goal as the legislation, by decreeing that judicial review is not necessary to conduct a "non-punishable" abortion, and providing regulatory norms for the practice. "The objective is to give a level of security to health professionals and specify their obligations regarding requests for interrupting a pregnancy that are covered by the Penal Code," said Valeria Isla, who is working on the legislation, in an interview with the French Press Agency.

  Contact Information:

  Embassy of Argentina in the USA
  1600 New Hampshire Ave, NW
  Washington, DC 20009-2512
  Phone (202) 238-6401
  Fax (202) 332-3171

  Embassy of Argentina in Canada
  81 Metcalfe Street, Suite 700
  Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 6K7
  Tel: (613) 236-2351
  Fax: (613) 235-2659

  Argentine Embassies in Other Countries

  Related LifeSiteNews coverage:

  Pro-Life Ruling Overturned—Grandparent Fights for Life of Mentally Disabled Daughter’s Unborn Child

  Pro-Abortion Groups Seek Proceedings Against Pro-Life Judge in Argentina

  Two Latin American Babies Saved from Abortion by their Governments

  Argentina Judge Stops Abortion for Mentally Disabled Woman

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