NYT Hails Argentina’s ‘Reproductive-Rights Movement,' Even in Defeat: 'Abortion Will Be Legal Soon'

August 10th, 2018 8:29 PM

New York Times stringer Daniel Politi teamed with the paper’s Brazil bureau chief Ernesto Londono to cover a failed attempt in Argentina to legalize abortion in the first 14 weeks of a pregenancy: “Though Abortion Bill Failed in Argentina, a Movement Took Hold -- A Narrow Loss Inspires Women.” The text box to Friday’s story assured the paper’s pro-choice readership: “‘Abortion will be legal soon. Very soon,’ one woman said.”

The online version carried a Reuters photo of “An abortion-rights supporter in Buenos Aires on Thursday after a bill to legalize abortion was defeated.” Who, by the way, was in the act of throwing a colored smoke bomb.

The text ignored the eruptions of violence in the aftermath of the defeat of the abortion bill, which the paper usually does when it comes to left-wing protest violence. A print-edition photo did show a protest scene lit up with fire, but without fingering any party for blame, labeled merely as “Clashes with riot police officers....”

Instead the reporters tried hard to dubiously link violence against women -- femicide, as it is known in Latin America -- with abortion, which pro-lifers consider to be violence against children, while cheering on the new pro-choice activism in Argentina.

The slant is obvious in the story’s tone:

They narrowly lost the vote.

But as supporters of a bill to legalize abortion in Argentina began to shake off a stinging defeat in the Senate on Thursday, they took consolation in having galvanized a reproductive-rights movement across Latin America and began to consider how to redirect their activism.

A coalition of young female lawmakers who stunned the political establishment by putting abortion rights at the top of the legislative agenda this year seemed to be on the verge of a historic victory with the bill. But intense lobbying by Catholic Church leaders and staunch opposition in conservative northern provinces persuaded enough senators to vote against it.

After a 17-hour hearing, the bill was defeated early Thursday by a vote of 38 to 31, with two abstentions.


Despite the setback, many proponents marveled that Argentine lawmakers had come so close to passing the measure, which would have allowed abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and fractured the near-total prohibition on abortion in Latin America.

The NYT harped on the losing side:

The bill energized hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across Argentina in a women’s rights movement known as Ni Una Menos -- Not One Less -- and enthused women from Brazil to Mexico.

Of course, the reporters found euphemisms for abortion.

The penal code changes had been in the works for some time, but they appeared to reflect Mr. Macri’s realization that the reproductive-rights movement in Argentina was now an established force.

But the purported catalyst of the pro-abortion movement in Argentina has a strange, contradictory origin the paper doesn’t seem to grasp:

The organized movement that pushed the bill started in 2015 with the brutal murder of a pregnant 14-year-old girl by her teenage boyfriend. Her mother claimed the boyfriend’s family didn’t want her to have the baby.

A journalist, Marcela Ojeda, despairing over yet another woman’s violent death, posted a tweet: “Aren’t we going to raise our voice? They’re killing us.”

Her anger struck a chord. Within weeks, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators marched across Argentina, after organizing on social media around the hashtag #NiUnaMenos.

So outrage over a teenage boy who murdered his pregnant girlfriend because he didn’t want to become a father (and who may have tried to force her to abort)...somehow transforms into a nationwide fight in support of abortion? Sigh:

The slogan spread to neighboring countries, including Mexico, Peru, Chile and Colombia, where it was used to denounce violence against women, demand reproductive rights and draw attention to related causes.

Analysts said the movement’s improbable rise already had begun to change the region in ways that would have been impossible just years ago. The campaign is credited with inspiring debate on a variety of women’s issues, including domestic violence, a subject that has long been taboo.