A few days after the second anniversary of the enactment of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Law, a new episode of persecution of the reproductive freedom of pregnant people occurred. This time in the city of Villa María, where 4 lifeguards and a doctor were arrested.
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Arbitrary raids and arrests
During the afternoon of Wednesday, December 21, two members of the Socorristas en Red organization and a health professional were arrested after a series of raids were carried out, at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, for the alleged crime of illegal practice of medicine. , a crime that, according to the Penal Code of the Nation (art. 208), is releaseable. In turn, two more people had an arrest warrant but were not in the country at the time, which is why, through their lawyer, they made themselves available to justice and began to return to the country. Despite this, the prosecutor’s office issued arrest warrants for no reason, which led to their arrest at Ezeiza upon entering the country, on Christmas Eve.
By virtue of the appeal that the defense attorney presented before the Control Court, on Friday, December 23, the release of the health professional was ordered and the following Monday the other four detainees were released. Along with the request for release made by the defender, multiple civil society organizations appeared before the Court spontaneously expressing their concern for the case in a context in which access to the interruption of pregnancy is a recognized right at the national level. and especially because of the type of measures adopted in the framework of the criminal investigation, which were clearly intimidating and disproportionate.
First aid is health
Since its inception in 2012, Socorristas en Red was established as an articulation of collectives that, throughout the country, provide information and openly accompany people who decide to terminate their pregnancies, so that they do so safely and cared for, in accordance with the law and international health and human rights standards.
The practice of the socorristas consists of informing and accompanying the decisions of those who decide to abort, through listening that accommodates the needs and desires of the people who come to them. First aid supports and demands the dignity and justice of abortions, whether self-managed or in the health system. In their daily work, they produce their own materials with information on the practice, communication campaigns and dissemination of rights, and systematizations on the cases they accompany. Their work is public and visible, and its objective is to work for cultural changes that contribute to eradicating shame, fear, and stigma around abortions, so that they are a free and careful practice.
Within the framework of Law 27,610, the delivery of information and accompaniment in the pregnancy termination process carried out by lifeguards is legal and should not be penalized. So much so, that at the international level it is recognized that community accompaniment for transit through pregnancy interruptions is of great importance to improve the safety, effectiveness and individual experience of this process.
Legal abortion in the hospital and anywhere
Since the enactment of the Law on Access to Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy and Postabortion Care in December 2020, deciding to terminate a pregnancy freely is a right of all people with the capacity to gestate. The law also recognizes the right to request and access care for this practice in the health system services. Therefore, all health personnel (including administrative and security) are responsible for guaranteeing and not obstructing the right to terminate a pregnancy, without prejudice to the fact that these practices can be carried out self-managed.
According to the Protocol for the comprehensive care of people with the right to voluntary and legal termination of pregnancy (IVE/ILE), the care model centered on people adopted by Law 27,610 recognizes the performance of pregnancy terminations with the assistance of health personnel and self-managed. Self-managed practices are considered safe by the World Health Organization (WHO) if they are carried out with adequate information and the methods indicated according to the gestational age and clinical history of the pregnant person. In this way, the preferences and individual aspirations of the users of the services are taken into account and the cultural practices and values of their communities are considered.
These self-managed practices are carried out through the use of medications, such as misoprostol alone or combined with mifepristone. Widespread practice and numerous investigations have shown that performing the medication procedure on an outpatient and self-managed basis is a safe and effective option. Likewise, it is chosen by many women or other people with the capacity to gestate, because it allows them to start the interruption process at the time and place that is most comfortable for them and gives them greater peace of mind.