Birth Rights: Argentina and abortion

Winner of the 2015 regional Edward R. Murrow award for best use of video.

Reported by Emily Judem and Rebecca Sanchez, filmed and edited by Emily Judem. Originally published on GlobalPost on September 14, 2014. 

Argentinian women who seek an abortion must navigate a winding labyrinth that includes the still-powerful apparatus of the Catholic Church, Argentina’s convoluted criminal code, political and social pressure and a legion of morally opposed doctors.

As a result, according to Human Rights Watch, there are approximately 500,000 underground abortions in Argentina each year — with complications accounting for 30 percent of the maternal mortality rate, more than 2.5 times that of Uruguay or Chile, where abortion is totally illegal. Latin America also has a higher abortion rate than any other region in the world.

It’s a statistic that begs the question: if the church aims to protect all life, does the death of women on such a grand scale not create a moral paradox of immense proportions?

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