Hillary Clinton Gives Feminist Speech in Argentina

Hillary Rodham Clinton was greeted with applause and cheers by Argentine women for her speech on reproductive health and domestic violence. “Hillary is a radical feminist, and we welcome that here,” said lawyer Liliana Tojo.

“Access to quality health care — especially family planning and reproductive health services — is crucial to advancing the progress of women,” said Clinton. She called domestic violence “one of the most serious and underreported human rights violations in the Americas,” and criticized “consumer culture” that “does its best, in my country and yours, to objectify women and make girls believe that only their appearances — not their hearts, minds or souls — are important.”

In Argentina, rates of anorexia and bulimia are three times higher than in the U.S. Despite a politically powerful church that condemns family planning and a government that prefers no sex education, Argentina is considered liberal compared to other South American countries. Divorce is illegal in Chile, and, until recently, a rapist could escape prosecution by marrying his victim in Peru. Abortion is illegal in Argentina except in cases of rape or to save the life of the woman. By law, at least 33% of the Argentine Congress must be women.

Women’s rights supporters at the Colon Theater where Ms. Clinton spoke showered the theater with leaflets supporting abortion rights. Clinton did not directly speak on abortion, but said that better family planning information lowered maternal death rates and the number of abortions.


Washington Post - October 18, 1997

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