So far, 2019 has not been a good year for women’s rights in the United States. Just this month Kentucky, Georgia, and Louisiana have passed abortion restrictions; and in Missouri, a judge is expected to decide whether to shut down the state’s last abortion clinic. Nine states have passed legislation to ban abortions this year, with Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio passing “heartbeat bills” that effectively prohibit abortions after six to eight weeks of pregnancy—before many women know they are pregnant.
But these bans are nothing compared to Alabama’s new bill, which criminalizes abortion and could land doctors who perform them up to 99 years in prison. The bill determines life starts at conception, the only exceptions being serious health risk to the pregnant woman or a lethal anomaly of the fetus. There are no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Surprisingly though, the bill does not deem fertilized eggs destroyed in the process of fertility treatment as worthy of this protection. According to Alabama State Senator Clyde Chambliss, “the egg in the lab doesn’t apply…it’s not in a woman. She’s not pregnant.”
This wave of anti-abortion bills are setting the stage for a conservative challenge against Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that protects the fundamental “right to privacy” of pregnant women’s liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion. Conservatives believe the chances of overturning the court decision are high, due to the Supreme Court’s new conservative majority.
But as women’s rights are tested in the U.S., pro-choice activists in Argentina are renewing their battle to legalize abortion. Last year, Argentina’s Senate narrowly rejected a bill that would have allowed abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Now, a similar bill was introduced as demonstrations for the International Day of Action for Women’s Health were being held across the country. Argentines hope that the upcoming elections will bring in new lawmakers in favor of women’s rights. Like many countries in Latin America, Argentina only allows abortions in cases of rape or risk to the woman’s health.