In the centre of Buenos Aires, Avenida de Mayo is flooded by a sea of green. Children, adults, and elders alike gathered in the heart of the capital on Thursday (September 28), waving flags and lifting banners high. A palpable energy pulsed through crowd as groups of people with powerful chants were backed by loud, rhythmic percussion.
September 28 marks International Safe Abortion Day – an important date for Latin American and Caribbean feminist movements. The day was first celebrated by the 28 Septiembre Campaign in 1990, demanding the decriminalisation of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean. In solidarity with these women’s movements, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) globalised the campaign in 2011.
At this year's rally in Buenos Aires, thousands marched from iconic Plaza de Mayo to the National Congress building, fighting to maintain the right to abortion in Argentina – a law that has been recently threatened by Libertad Avanza Presidential candidate Javier Milei.
Law 27,610, Argentina's historic abortion reform, approved in December 2020, grants access to voluntary and legal interruption of pregnancy and post-procedural care for all those with the ability to become pregnant and is of mandatory application throughout the entire country.
Last month, in an interview with Neura Media, Milei outwardly affirmed that he was completely against abortion, and declared that, if elected president, the law would be nullified.
The La Libertad Avanza candidate emerged with the most votes in the primary elections, gathering nearly 30 percent of all votes cast nationwide.
Argentines go to the polls on October 22 for the presidential election. If no candidate emerges with 45 percent of the vote, or 40 percent with a 10-point gap over their nearest rivals, the top two will go through to a November 16 run-off.
“In the context of the primary results, and in the face of the threat from Milei, we believe that this demonstration of strength is important to tell the government – the current one and the one to follow – that they will not step over our rights,” said Mercedes Dimarchi, 43-year-old activist of the Izquierda Socialista group Isadora.
Demonstrators of all ages took to the streets on Thursday. A young group of secondary school girls stood out at the march, sporting face gems, bandanas, and lots of optimism.
They came with the Coordinadora de Estudiantes En Base, an organisation focused on unifying secondary students across the Capital, creating and mobilising a student-led movement that aims to fight for political and social justice issues.
“Feminism was inactive for quite some time and it is a fight that has to continue,” said 13-year-old Dana, “We are trying to reactivate it.”
“We are fighting for our rights and the rights of future generations, so that they can have the same comfort that we have in our positions, like our gender, like being women, and to be able to be comfortable with who we are,” agreed her classmate Nina.
Many cars honked their horns irritably as the protesters made their way to Avenida 9 de Julio, blocking any and all passage, while others decidedly hopped out of their vehicles and joined them.
Amidst a tumultuous political climate, and with a crunch election on the horizon, the people of Buenos Aires have once more shown power through unity and are ready to stand up for their rights.