President Alberto Fernández has confirmed that he will seek to decriminalise abortion in Argentina over the next 12 months.
Speaking during an interview with Radio Continental, the Peronist leader confirmed that Congress would debate a bill on decriminalisation this year, saying briefly that a legislative package to that end would be "addressed in 2020." The Executive had made "the decision," he confirmed.
A bill to legalise the procedure in Argentina failed to clear in the Senate in 2018, after passing the lower house Chamber of Deputies.
Fernández, who has regularly indicated his support for decriminalisation, has allowed his new government to take steps toward decriminalisation. Soon after taking office, Health Minister Ginés García González promulgated a new ILE (Legal Interruption of Pregnancy) protocol in the Official Gazette, clarifying the conditions under which the procedure can be legally carried out in Argentina.
Current Argentine legislation authorises an abortion only when the woman’s life is in danger or when the pregnancy is the result of rape.
During his interview with Radio Continental, Fernández questioned the approach of the Mauricio Macri administration's approach to the subject, expressing dismay at how the debate had been turned into 'green' versus 'blue' – a reference to the colours adopted by the pro- and anti-abortion campaigns respectively.
"It is a public health problem that must be resolved with another logic – because the logic of Boca-River that was deployed does not work," he declared.
"Everyone knows that I am determined to have this issue addressed. The woman who aborts puts her life at risk, but also the one who wants to have it and is in a problematic situation also has a problem.
"The decision is to address it in 2020. Let's solve this issue, so that the one who wants to have an abortion, can have an abortion and the one who wants to have a child, can have it," he added.
The president also stressed the importance of creating "rapid adoption mechanisms" and the need to "improve contraceptive education."
"We want to have a sensible debate: I don't want anyone else to die and I don't want to be distracted," said Fernández.