Argentine Abortion Policy: the Influences of Culture

The current Argentine law regarding abortion restricts access to this vital reproductive health option to cases in which the life of the mother is in danger or cases in which the pregnancy resulted from rape of a mentally handicapped woman (see 1922 Penal Code, Articles 85-88). As a Catholic country, the Church has historically played a large role in Argentine politics, and many see the debate over abortion in Argentina as no exception to this trend. Recent developments such as the legalization of same-sex marriage under President Cristina Kirchner de Fernandez suggest that there may be other factors holding this traditional stance in place.  In my research, I intend to investigate the influence of culture on abortion using quantitative and qualitative methods. In particular, I plan to examine norms about women’s roles, bodies, and reproductive options on abortion policy outcomes.

In my quantitative analysis, I will be coding the comments in congressional debates on bills regarding abortion policy for the justifications that each congressperson cites for his or her position since the return of democracy in 1983. My qualitative analysis will consist of semi-structured interviews around various topics related to women’s reproductive rights, including abortion and in vitro fertilization, of individuals who influence the policy process. This will include discussions with activists, current politicians, and former politicians.