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Human Rights Watch calls on Argentinas government to protect womens human rights to life, physical integrity, health,
nondiscrimination, privacy, liberty, information, freedom of religion and conscience,
equal protection under the law, and the right to make decisions about the
number and spacing of children. In the following, we identify some essential first
Continue to endorse publicly the National Program on Sexual
Health and Responsible Procreation, and advocate for adequate financial support
for this program within the governments budget.
Publicly support womens rights to immediate unhindered access to
safe abortion where the punishment is currently waived, and support legislative
reform to facilitate womens access to voluntary and safe abortion services.
Until such time as the Argentine Congress decriminalizes access
to abortion, the National Health and Environment Ministry should develop a
regulatory framework to guarantee access to voluntary safe abortion where the
pregnant womens life or health is in danger, and where the pregnancy is the
result of the rape of a mentally disabled woman, as provided by law. This
regulatory framework should make explicit reference to the internationally
accepted definition of health as put forward by the World Health
Continue to distribute the Guide on Better Post Abortion Care,
and develop a mandatory regulatory framework for the provision of humane
post-abortion care, and require all health care providers, public as well as
private, to provide such care. The ministry should ensure that all women know
and understand that they will be provided with humane post-abortion care at
public and private health centers and hospitals.
Continue and expand efforts to promote and disseminate full and
accurate information on all safe contraceptive methods as identified by the
World Health Organization, including through public information campaigns
targeting the general population.
Provide the full range of contraceptives in public health care
centers as well as hospitals. Decisions on which methods to use should rest
with the individual woman herself, on the basis of scientifically informed
medical counseling. A full range of safe contraception would include surgical
contraception, such as tubal ligation, and emergency contraception (the
Sustain and deepen the public information campaign on the
contents of the National Law on Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation, and
the services provided through the National Program on Sexual Health and
Proactively investigate and sanction all health personnel who
willfully provide inaccurate or incomplete information on contraceptive
methods, including those who withhold information on specific contraceptive
methods, or who do not follow ministerial guidelines on the provision of care.
Sanctions should include the suspension or revocation of medical licenses for
Eliminate all discriminatory preconditions for access to
voluntary tubal ligation, including spousal consent. Develop a national regulatory
framework for access to tubal ligations according to World Health Organization
standards on this type of contraceptive method.
Ensure access to accurate science-based sex education in primary
and secondary schools, both private and public. Sex educationtailored
appropriately to age level and capacityshould include information on the
inequality between men and women that hampers womens rights to health and to
independent decision-making on reproductive and sexual health matters. It
should also include accurate, science-based information about HIV prevention,
including the use of condoms for this purpose.
Ensure the inclusion of comprehensive information on reproductive
and sexual rights in university and higher education curricula for medical
doctors, nurses, obstetricians, and other health personnel.
The Argentine congress should
Legalize and ensure access to voluntary surgical contraception,
including tubal ligation, including through the repeal of provisions in
national law 17.132/67 (on the medical profession) and the penal code that
limit such access. The law should clarify that women do not require spousal or
judicial authorization to access any form of contraceptive method.
Amend the penal code to explicitly criminalize marital rape.
Require ministries and appropriate government agencies to train
health personnel, judges, magistrates, lawyers, police, and relevant officials
on the laws and regulations related to womens reproductive and sexual health,
including guidance on womens access to non-punishable abortion and tubal
Require all appropriate government agencies to provide training
on preventing, investigating, and punishing violence against women, including
domestic and sexual violence, especially for health personnel, judges,
magistrates, police, and relevant public officials.
Call for oversight hearings to examine shortcomings in the implementations
of the National Law on Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation, and take
immediate and effective steps to overcome any shortcomings.
Enact laws that allow women to have access to voluntary and safe
abortions. These measures should include the repeal of penal code provisions
that criminalize abortion, especially those that punish women who have had an
Expedite ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
Donors and international
organizations that fund reproductive health work in Argentina should:
Engage with Argentina to ensure that all women have access to
information, sex education programs, and a full range of safe and effective
contraception for all women.
Advocate for Argentina to remove legal restrictions on abortion
and to ensure women access to safe and legal abortions.
Expand funding for reproductive health related programs in Argentina. Support the information campaigns of government and nongovernmental
organizations (NGOs) seeking to educate women about their reproductive and
sexual rights and right to access contraception and abortion.
The Federation of Argentine Societies of Gynecology and
Obstetrics (Federación Argentina de Sociedades de Ginecología y Obstetricia,
FASGO) is a civil society organization of gynecologists and obstetricians that
develops ethical standards and recommendations on good practices for its
members. Since doctors and obstetricians are the main actors in the
implementation of state policies and laws on reproductive and sexual rights,
their involvement and commitment to womens welfare in this area is paramount.
Develop and promote ethical guidelines on the provision of humane
post-abortion care, including explicit condemnation of doctors who report women
who have had abortions to the authorities. FASGO should investigate and
discipline any members who perform curettage without anesthesia.
Encourage its members to engage women in informed decision-making
about their fertility and reproductive health by facilitating full and accurate
information on available contraceptive methods.
Offer regular courses on womens reproductive and sexual
rights through the FASGO school of gynecology and obstetrics.