Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Argentina: Illusions of Care

Anybody wonder why we need a UN women's agency? Maybe the latest report from Human Rights Watch - out today - will offer some clues. It's about Argentina - not the poorest or the least sophisticated or illiberal country in the world. It voted to legalise gay marriage, after all. It has a woman president. Yet thousands of women and girls there, says the report, "suffer needlessly every year because of negligent or abusive reproductive health care".

Argengtina has far from the worst record in Latin America. No less than five countries ban abortion under any circumstances. Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic refuse to allow it even if it means the woman's death. Argentina and the others are not quite so harsh.

But international human rights law says that women have a right to make decisions about if, when and how many children they have, says Human Rights Watch. In Argentina, those rights have been "systematically flouted for years", it says.

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