Building Argentina’s Green Wave

A green wave of feminist advocates swept through Argentina this summer, demanding access to safe and legal abortion services, and causing an international sensation. While this uprising was a surprise to many, for groups like Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir (CDD Argentina), it was 25 years in the making.

Founded in 1993, CDD Argentina is a faith-based and feminist organization that has been working to expand sexual and reproductive rights for Argentine women for more than two decades. They are a founding member of the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion—the network at the forefront of Argentina’s women’s movement—and a key architect of its political and social strategies.

In Argentina, as is the case across most of Latin America, abortion is restricted. It is only legal when the pregnancy is a result of rape, the woman’s life is in danger, or her health threatened. However, in August 2018, Argentina’s Senate voted on a landmark bill that would have decriminalized abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Despite the bill’s failure—it was defeated 38-31—the women’s movement successfully placed abortion rights on the national agenda and shifted public opinion in its favor.

The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) has supported CDD Argentina since 2003. Through general support grants, flexible funding, and our trust-based grantmaking model, IWHC has helped provide CDD Argentina with the resources to drive progress. Our relationship extends beyond institutional funding—we are partners in advocacy. Over the years, CDD Argentina staff have participated in IWHC’s Advocacy in Practice (AIP) trainings and, in August 2018, we collaborated with these same activists to organize a Latin American AIP in Peru. In April 2019, IWHC will honor Marta Alanis—CDD Argentina’s founder—at our 2019 Annual Dinner to celebrate her lifelong commitment to feminist advocacy and work on behalf of CDD Argentina.

CDD Argentina, alongside its sister organizations in Argentina, has played a key role in educating and influencing both the public and policymakers on issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Its efforts to build a cross-sector, intersectional, and intergenerational movement for abortion rights have placed the organization at the heart of many of the country’s most successful pro-choice strategies of the past two decades. This has included legislation to strengthen access to information, contraception, and reproductive health care services, as well as to provide comprehensive sexuality education in schools. However, abortion rights, until earlier this year, remained out of reach. Now, CDD Argentina and its allies are looking ahead and identifying opportunities to re-introduce the bill in a favorable environment. In the meantime, they will keep the momentum of the green wave alive.

IWHC is proud to provide ongoing support to CDD Argentina as they continue to advocate for abortion rights, sexual and reproductive health services and information, and policies that benefit women and girls.

Photo: Fotografías Emergentes

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