UN Human Rights Committee recommends abortion law reform in Argentina

The UN Human Rights Committee has released a report slamming the state of abortion rights in Argentina and criticizing President Mauricio Macri’s decision to strike down key articles of the Broadcast Media Law and its subsequent effects on freedom of expression on 15 July.The report said that restrictions placed on reproductive rights in Argentina undermined human rights and strongly recommended that the de-facto criminalization of abortion in Argentina be reversed:“The state must revise existing legislation on abortion, including criminal legislation, in particular by introducing additional exceptions to the prohibition of abortion, including when the pregnancy is the result of rape, regardless of the intellectual ability or psychology of the women… The state must ensure that all women and girls can access reproductive health services in all regions of the country and that the legal barriers and the lack of medical protocols do not force women to resort to clandestine abortions that put their health and lives at risk.”The report also references the ongoing “Belén case” surrounding the incarceration of a 27-year-old Tucumán resident who suffered a miscarriage in March 2014, and was arrested and convicted of murder earlier this year. Belén was in custody for two years previous to her conviction. Amnesty International has launched a worldwide campaign for her release. The UN Committee’s report also called for her release from jail.President Mauricio Macri, like his predecessor Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, however, won the presidency on a “pro-life” ticket in which he guaranteed to preserve existing laws surrounding abortion in Argentina.A cross-party group of national lawmakers recently submitted a bill calling for the legalization of abortion in Argentina, a move lawmakers in favour of reform have attempted repeatedly. Without the necessary support, however, it is unlikely to make it past the congressional committee stage.FULL UN Human Rights Committee Report: Observaciones finales sobre el quinto informe periódico de Argentina, Advanced unedited version (en español)SOURCE: Buenos Aires Herald, 16 July 2016 ; PHOTO: Beatrice Murch, 2013