Step by step we will achieve an Argentina without abortion

Argentina's President Javier Milei/PRI

(PRI) Javier Milei, President of Argentina, was committed to the defense of life long before he got into politics. He’s a lifelong opponent of abortion and has never been afraid to go public about it. For him, it’s simple: abortion is an aggravated crime, not simply a “personal decision,” and he made that point strongly in his famous interview with Tucker Carlson that was distributed so widely before the elections in Argentina last November.

That appearance broadcasted his devotion to conservative principles as the foundation of freedom and brought Milei to victory.

Pro-lifers around the world cheered Milei’s victory, but now, six months later, many might be wondering why he hasn’t moved to eliminate abortion. Has he changed his mind? Does he now have other, more important priorities?

Well, some might be inclined to think so. After all, his presidential spokesperson recently said that “at this moment, the president’s agenda does not include the repeal of abortion.”

That would indeed be profoundly disappointing to his supporters. To dispel that impression we need to consider the legal framework in Argentina that Milei has to navigate in order to reach his goal. Milei’s popularity is real, and his resolve remains strong, but the difficulties he faces are real as well, and he has to deal with them patiently.

To understand those difficulties, we need to analyze two factors: the current legal status of abortion in Argentina and the limits on the power Milei can exercise in working with the Argentine Congress.

Tweet This: The current legal status of abortion in Argentina and the limits of President Milei's power will drive how and when he acts on abortion.

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Regarding the first point, we must remember that abortion in Argentina has been legalized since November 2020. Readers will recall that in 2018, Argentina was the scene of an impressive pro-life battle, which we won, thanks to a decisive vote in the Senate to reject the bill. Unfortunately, the forces of evil (for that’s what they were) continued their work. Two years later, at the end of 2020, in the midst of the Covid lockdown and with a newly-elected senate, the abortion lobby achieved its goal and succeeded in convincing Congress to approve the legalization of abortion. Pro-life Argentinians were locked in their homes and police were patrolling the streets, which meant that pro-lifers couldn’t demonstrate there.

It is also important to recall that the bill rejected by the Senate in 2018 had initially been approved by the Chamber of Deputies. At that time, since the legislation would fundamentally amend the country’s law, it was enough for the Senate to oppose it for the entire project to fail. Now, the circumstances are different. The result of the 2020 approval means that the path for the pro-life movement is more complicated because they need to have a sufficient majority in both chambers to repeal an existing law.

This brings us to the second aspect to consider in understanding Milei’s position. His party, La Libertad Avanza, currently has 38 deputies out of a total of 257 and 7 senators out of 72. In any country, this tiny minority would make it impossible to govern.

And it gets worse, given the other changes that Javier Milei is making in many aspects of Argentine life. Between the president, the vice president (in her role as president of the Senate), and the president of the Chamber of Deputies, they have managed to pass several difficult but necessary economic measures. It is an arduous path that could still falter since Milei’s enemies are using Argentina’s complicated political system to ensure that his agenda fails in every particular.

Given this context of economic and social priorities, proposing a debate on the abortion law is politically impossible. This view is also shared by the Argentine pro-life leaders with whom the PRI is in constant contact.

But that doesn’t mean that Milei’s government has abandoned the idea of changing the abortion law. The solidly pro-life Francisco Sánchez, Secretary of Worship in the administration, coordinates the government’s relations with the various religious groups present in Argentina.

From the beginning of his term, Sánchez has made it clear that he would not abandon his conservative principles, especially those supporting the life of the unborn. Appearing with Milei at a major event featuring conservative leaders from all over Europe, Sánchez insisted that everything possible must be done to change Argentina’s laws that oppose the culture of life.

Sánchez specifically addressed three laws: the divorce law (the first of a series of progressive laws passed in the 1980s), the law of same-sex “marriage,” and the abortion law. On all three, Sánchez made it clear that he fearlessly supports a conservative agenda. And pro-life leaders are enthusiastic in their determination to reopen the door of public opinion in Argentine society that the left has slammed shut and wants to keep it that way.

In Madrid, Sánchez clearly stated: “My ideas and opinions are not a danger except to the progressives who seek a single way of thinking. The real danger is those who promoted and approved the murder of creatures in the womb; the danger is the culture of death and cancellation.”

Back in Buenos Aires, he was equally emphatic. In a key interview, he proposed “undertaking a path to end abortion in Argentina.”

“The issue of abortion generates a great debate,” Sánchez said, and “society is fragmented. (The abortionists) achieved a parliamentary majority, but there was not a majority of Argentine society that agreed. And yet, abortion was approved.”

Martín Zeballos, a local analyst and PRI collaborator, gives a positive assessment of the government’s achievements so far. “Those who hid behind women’s right to choose have been discovered with their hands full of money, stained with blood and deceit. Well, congratulations! Let the truth shine to defend health, the right to choose life, and the best education for all.”

On the path to making legislation increasingly pro-life, Zeballos himself welcomes PRI’s collaboration: “By reinforcing the political strategy that we pro-life people in Argentina must carry forward, recently Carlos Polo and Sebastián Blanco recently came to Buenos Aires, Rosario, and Santa Fe, providing tools to analyze political scenarios for those of us who defend the empire of reality and the ideas of freedom in Argentina. Only with such a professional view will we be able to support the changes that Milei, Francisco Sánchez, and so many others in this government want.”

When asked if it is possible to repeal the legislation that declares abortion to be a right, Francisco Sánchez responded: “I have no doubt that it is. I was a legislator when it was approved, and I quickly presented a project to repeal it. I will do everything possible to ensure that the slaughter of creatures in the womb is no longer promoted, as it currently is, by the State. It is an absolute atrocity.”

Sánchez’s view rings true on sociological as well as ethical grounds: “Today Argentina has a demographic winter. Incredibly, Argentina today has birth rates similar to those of South Korea and Spain. Argentina needs to repopulate, so not only do we have to think about repealing abortion, but we also have to think about measures that promote birth rates so that the demographic issue becomes a key aspect of the country’s development.”

Editor's note: This article was published by Population Research Institute and is reprinted with permission.

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