Days after Argentina rejected abortion bill, woman dies trying to abort a child at home

Up to 500,000 illegal abortions are performed in Argentina every year where many woman risks their life.

                            Days after Argentina rejected abortion bill, woman dies trying to abort a child at home
(Source:Getty Images)

Less than a week after the Argentine Senate rejected a bill that would have legalized abortion up to 14 weeks, the country reported its first death from a botched up at-home abortion.

According to reports, a 34-year-old woman reportedly died in Argentina this week after a DIY attempt to induce a miscarriage.

The woman, identified only as Liz, was admitted into a hospital after she suffered complications from the abortion attempt, The Cut reported citing Argentinian newspaper Clairín. Doctors treating the woman reported the woman used parsley to induce the miscarriage, and which caused a serious infection. In a final bid to save her life, the doctors tried to remove her uterus but they failed. 

"Liz is survived by a 2-year-old son; she had endured two earlier illegal abortions. She died the next day after being admitted to the hospital. This would never have happened if abortions were legal,” Sebastián Crespo of the Professionals Network for the Right to Decide, an Argentinian organization of health workers, said. He added that if abortions were allowed, women like Liz could be helped. He also called for health care centers to provide women with improved health information and contraceptives which would, in turn, save the lives of many.

Sandra Hoyos, an organizer with the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortions said that "up to 500,000 illegal abortions are performed in Argentina every year."

“To get an abortion, we are forced into darkness, we have to put our own health and wellbeing at risk, we lose autonomy over our bodies and we cannot freely decide to give birth,” Sandra said during a May conversation with the North American Congress on Latin America.

In Argentina, abortions are only allowed in cases of rape or when the mother is mentally disabled or her health is at risk. In other cases, abortion is considered a criminal offense and is punishable by law. 

Though the bill to change the law and allow abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy received a lot of support from the public and an approval by the country’s House, the Senate rejected it. 

“After a marathon 16-hour debate, senators decided to reject a law that would have saved countless lives,” said Mariela Belski, executive director of Amnesty International Argentina, in a statement. “For now, people who need to terminate pregnancies in Argentina will have to continue to risk death or incarceration.” 

Despite this, Mariela added that the Senate vote was just a "stepping stone" and there is a long way to go in the case of abortion laws. "Something has irrevocably changed,” she said.

“That night, hundreds of thousands of people, mostly women, stood together in the streets outside the Senate in Buenos Aires.” She further added, " That mass gathering was momentous. It showed that the stigma, shame, and secrecy that have surrounded abortion for so long are disintegrating."

After the news about Liz's death came to light, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Argentina to call for reproductive rights and stated that the lawmakers who voted against the abortion bill to be held accountable for the woman’s death.