Rocío Bonacci

Rocío Bonacci, a member of Argentina's far-right La Libertad Avanza ruling coalition, has introduced legislation to recriminalize abortion, which has been legal in the South American country for just three years.

(Photo: Rocío Bonacci/X)

Under Milei, Far-Right Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Recriminalize Abortion in Argentina

One leftist lawmaker said that "we see deputies from La Libertad Avanza desperate to once again use the patriarchal reaction as a unifying element" to distract from the nation's economic woes.

Members of Argentinian President Javier Milei's far-right ruling coalition this week introduced a bill to recriminalize abortion, a proposal subsequently disavowed by the libertarian leader's office—for now.

Five deputies from Milei's La Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances) coalition—with 27-year-old Santa Fe lawmaker Rocío Bonacci spearheading the effort—are sponsoring the bill to overturn Law 27610, which Argentina's National Congress approved in December 2020 at the culmination of a decadeslong fight by reproductive rights advocates.

"I defend life," Bonacci, said on social media. "No more, no less."

"They want to distract us by coming back to this concluded debate to avoid worrying about what's urgent: Hunger and unemployment."

A sixth coalition lawmaker, cosplay influencer Lilia Lemoine, is listed as a sponsor of the bill, but said she does not support the "really damaging" proposal at this time.

The draft legislation proposes prison sentences of 1-3 years for a "woman who causes her own abortion or consents to someone else causing it." Abortion providers could be imprisoned for 1-4 years if they "act with the consent of the woman" and 3-10 years if they perform the medical procedure without consent. The maximum prison term would be 15 years if the pregnant person dies from an abortion.

The bill does not contain any exception for rape; however, it gives judges the discretion to consider "the reasons that prompted her to commit the crime, her subsequent attitude, and the nature of the fact."

Milei spokesperson Manuel Adorni stressed during a Thursday morning press conference that Bonacci had introduced the legislation of her own accord and that the bill "is not part of the president's agenda."

Adorni said Milei is "focused on what is most urgent," which is "straightening out Argentina."

Critics contend the proposed legislation is an attempt to deflect attention from this week's failure of Milei's omnibus bill to deregulate much of Argentina's economy and declare a public emergency giving the president sweeping powers to dictate economic, security, tariff, energy, and administrative issues through the end of the year.

The bill—which was sent back to committee on Tuesday—was the catalyst for massive nationwide protests and a general strike in recent months.

"Days after the great political defeat of the Milei government in Congress... they want to distract us by coming back to this concluded debate to avoid worrying about what's urgent: Hunger and unemployment," the National Campaign for Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion said in a statement. "We've said it once before and we'll say it again—not one step backward on our rights."

Leftist lawmaker Myriam Bregman said on social media that "we see deputies from La Libertad Avanza desperate to once again use the patriarchal reaction as a unifying element" amid the nation's economic woes.

It is uncertain whether Milei—who has railed against the "radical feminist agenda" and the "bloody agenda of abortion"—would ultimately support recriminalizing abortion. Adorni said on Thursday that Bonacci's bill "will be debated" at "some point."

Milei is currently visiting Israel. In a show of support for that country's far-right government—which stands accused in the International Court of Justice of committing genocide in Gaza—he announced Tuesday that he would move Argentina's embassy to Jerusalem.

On Monday, Milei is scheduled to meet with Pope Francis at The Vatican. Although the two Argentinians have been at odds—Milei once called the Catholic leader an "imbecile"—both the president and the pontiff are staunchly opposed to abortion, with the latter equating the healthcare procedure to "hiring a hitman to solve a problem."

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