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Safe, legal and free abortion: against dogmatic morality

Thursday 9 August 2018, by Eduardo Lucita

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The revolt of women continues its walk without pause, now the legalisation of elective abortion has been voted through by the chamber of deputies and will be voted on by the Senate. (After this article was written, legalisation was voted down in the Senate by 38 votes to 31.) For dogmatic morals the eruption of the younger generations marks a before and after.

Argentine society is making a qualitative leap forward right now. In the second decade of the 21st century, it has recognized as of right a need of the 20th century. This progress is a new landmark in our history as a nation, a democratic conquest that is part of the progress, albeit limited, since 1983. It is the continuation of the divorce laws in 1987, the female quota in 1991, the egalitarian marriage in 2010, gender identity in 2012 and, going back further, the recognition of civil marriage in 1888 or votes for women in 1947.

Not an isolated event

Behind the struggle of women to control their own bodies, there is a movement that has been built for more than three decades in women’s meetings, of a federal magnitude, with horizontal debates and political autonomy. This construction of feminism covers a multiplicity of demands (gender, sexual diversity, against unwanted pregnancies and violence against women, for example) that have transformed it into a movement of movements.

It was in 1998, with the creation of the Commission for the Right to Abortion, which ten years later became the Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion, that the issue was firmly established in society. It was not easy and these pioneers, who fought for many years in solitude, some already deceased, deserve our gratitude: Isabel Larguía, Nina Brugo, Marta Rosemberg, Dora Barrancos, Mabel Bellucci... and especially Dora Coledesky, who was my friend and comrade in political initiatives. A textile worker drawn to Trotskyism, later a lawyer and exile in Paris, she was, on her return, one of the principal teachers of feminism and women’s rights, pursuing the tradition of the anarchists of the beginning of the last century.

A new generation

President Macri will surely go down in history for allowing this parliamentary debate, but if his idea was to put an end to mobilizations, he will not succeed. The debate has settled in society, in the streets and squares, in the workplaces and in the means of transport, and it is the new generations, very young, that have made the history of the country with joy and originality. We have witnessed this “revolution of the girls”, often accompanied by their grandmothers. Not only by being on the spot and sharing several hours with them, but also because when a few days ago Pagina 12 published a picture of four girls wearing on their backpacks the green scarf of the campaign, I discovered, not without surprise, that one of them was my granddaughter, who is finishing elementary school. This morning, a Whatsapp rang at dawn: “Grandma, we won.”

In 1990, the writer and journalist Carlos A. Brocato published an essay that marked a whole period, Anticoncepción and Aborto Penúltima battler contra la morale dogmática (Contraception and abortion, penultimate battle against dogmatic morality). Announcing thus the onset of other struggles, for example for the necessary separation of the church and the state. This morning, with the vote of the deputies, a battle was won... the next one will be in the Senate. If not now, it will be soon. But nothing will be the same.

In short, these are battles against dogmatic morality in a deeply sexist, patriarchal and homophobic country, where clerical obscurantism is again the big loser. Like when it opposed legal divorce, same-sex marriage or the use of condoms or death in dignity. For its followers do not defend any religious principle, only a naturalized moral order, a unique and immutable morality in time.

Women and especially the new generations are the ones who change this story.


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