June 14, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Last December, the Congress of Argentina narrowly legalized abortion after declining to do so only two years earlier in 2018. Ecstatic abortion activists predicted a “Green Wave” across South America; instead, the move triggered condemnation by many leaders — in Honduras, lawmakers even entrenched permanent protections for pre-born children to prevent abortion legalization in their own country. At the time, Argentinian pro-life leader Camila Duro told me that legalization would be challenged, and a judge in the northern province of Chaco granted an injunction against implementation soon thereafter.
On June 7, there was another significant judicial ruling in the battle to turn back the clock on abortion in Argentina. Camila Duro connected me with Alfredo M. Vitolo, a professor of constitutional law and human rights, to explain what is currently unfolding.
A week ago, Vitolo told me that “a federal court in the city of Mar del Plata, one of the largest cities in the country, has issued a preliminary injunction, enjoining the enforcement of the law throughout Argentina.” This injunction “will remain in place until the judge rules on the merits of the case. It should be noted that the injunction is not yet firm, having been appealed by the Argentine government, and that the main ruling on the merits of the case is yet to come.”
That said, this is a significant development, and abortion activists expressed shock and disbelief on social media. Advocates of abortion are used to using the courts to advance their agenda; they are not used to having their causes blocked by the judiciary. As of yet, not a single major Western media outlet has reported on this story, despite wall-to-wall coverage of Argentina’s legalization of abortion and predictions that other nations would follow.
As Alfredo Vitolo explained via email:
In response to the advisory filing made by the public prosecutor in accordance with the Argentinian federal procedural rules, requesting that the case be dismissed for insufficient sufficient standing on petitioner (the case has been filed by an individual as a general challenge to the law, and not in connection with any specific abortion case), the judge rejected such considerations based on the [fact that] law protecting children’s rights — law 26,061 — expressly grants any individual sufficient judicial standing to restore affected children’s rights.
Having thus recognized sufficient standing in petitioner, the judge granted the preliminary injunction taking into consideration (i) the paramount nature of the rights at stake (quoting prior rulings of the Argentine Supreme Court the judge indicated that the case involves the first and most fundamental right, the right to life), (ii) the prima facie seriousness of the arguments presented, based on the potential conflict between the challenged law and constitutional and international human rights’ principles, and (iii) the risk involved (periculum in mora) if the law is permitted to be applied while a decision on the merits is adopted. In the judge’s words: “Denying in this case the injunction, would cause irreparable harm, which harm will be difficult to repair at a later moment. In the case at stake, I consider that the risk to be sufficiently present since the rights of unborn children are threatened [by the law]”. He continues saying: “An uncountable number of boys and girls to be born may suffer death since this very moment, and the final decision to be rendered shall not be able to remediate their situation in the future”.
Mar del Plata 4th Federal Tribunal – Case 5045/2021 SERI, HECTOR ADOLFO c/ PODER EJECUTIVO NACIONAL s/AMPARO LEY 16.986, Decision of June 7, 2021
Reread the judge’s words for a moment and consider their implications: He is stating, in clear language, that abortion kills children and thus violates the most fundamental rights of children. This ruling cuts right to the heart of the abortion debate. It would be an incredible victory for the South American pro-life movement if Argentina’s courts should decide to invalidate the legalization of abortion based on the rights of children.
We do not yet know how the case will play out. But it appears that the abortion wars are not yet over — there is still a chance that what was done in December might yet be undone. Pray for the judges, the pro-life activists, and those making life and death decisions. Pray for Argentina.