Human Rights Watch released a report yesterday indicating that Argentina is failing to provide adequate reproductive health care for women. The report, “Illusions of Care: Lack of Accountability for Reproductive Rights in Argentina,” reveals that women face many obstacles in obtaining legal healthcare services in Argentina including contraception, abortion in the case of rape or health complications, and voluntary sterilization.
Despite a government mandate to provide free and universal contraceptives, many barriers to obtaining birth control still exist, according to the Guardian. Women face unnecessary delays and referrals, as many doctors refuse to provide these services. Other women face domestic violence as a result of obtaining birth control.
Limited access to birth control and legal abortion has had devastating affects for women in Argentina. According to the New York Times, Argentina has one of the highest abortion rates in the world with 40 percent of all pregnancies ending in termination. The majority of these abortions are illegal and performed in unsafe conditions. Illegal abortions are the leading cause of maternal death in Argentina.
Argentina’s reproductive policies are a stark contrast to the other more liberal social policies adopted recently by the country. Argentina legalized same sex marriage last month. The law, which passed by a vote of 33 to 27 in Argentine Senate, made the state the first Latin American country to approve gay marriage. Argentina joined Belgium, Canada, Holland, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Sweden as the tenth country to legalize gay marriage.