ARGENTINA – Opinion poll shows 59% of Argentinians in favour of abortion law reform; three Congressional committees will begin debate on 20 March 2018

On 20 March, members of three different committees in the Chamber of Deputies of the national Congress will start deliberations on abortion law reform. Along with the bill tabled by the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion, which takes abortion out of the criminal law and allows abortion on a range of grounds and was endorsed by 71 Deputies, other proposals tabled will also be discussed. The National Campaign is calling for supporters to gather outside the Congress building with the green handkerchiefs, which are the symbol of the Campaign.

Perfil published a report on 18 March of an opinion poll on abortion by Amnesty Argentina. The poll found that 98% of people in Argentina are aware of abortion as an issue, and that 59% agree with law reform, either very much or to some extent. Here are the results: 34% very much agree with decriminalisation (muy de acuerdo), 25% agree to some extent (algo de acuerdo), 14% disagree to some extent (algo en desacuerdo), and 23% very much disagree (muy en desacuerdo); 4% don’t know.

As regards which grounds for abortion they believe should be permitted, the poll showed the following:

The poll also found that the views of legislators closely reflected the views of the public – 60% support legalisation and 40% do not.

Some 87% of those polled had seen news reports on the issue in the days before the poll. Almost half (48%) knew someone who had had an abortion. Most interesting, perhaps, the poll found that the more informed respondents were on abortion, the more likely they were to support legalisation.

Importantly, on the question of whether the churches should influence or remain on the periphery of the debate, 63% thought the Catholic Church should abstain from having an opinion, 23% thought they should seek to have an influence and 14% didn’t know. Lastly and also importantly, 59% thought that legislators should cast their vote based on the rights of women (50%) and not based on their own personal religious views (9%).

SOURCE: Perfil, by Pablo Helman, 18 March 2018 ; E-mails from Mariana Romero, 18/19 March 2018

SEE ALSO (en español): Legitimar decisions reproductivas: un gesto a favour de la libertad y la dignidad. Perfil, by Agustina Ramón Michel, Silvina Ramos, Mariana Romero, 18 March 2018