Abstract

Abstract:

One of the most contentious struggles related to body politics in Latin America centers on abortion. Restrictive abortion legislation predominates in the region. In Argentina—the focus of this article—abortion was largely illegal until recently. In December 2020, the Argentine National Congress approved a bill to legalize voluntary abortion through the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy. Activists had long advocated for abortion decriminalization and legalization, pointing to the state as responsible for preventable harm to people undergoing clandestine abortions. They demanded abortion that is legal, safe, and gratuito (free of charge). Implicitly and explicitly, activists reclaimed the body from state and societal control, while also demanding the social conditions that would make choice possible. Based primarily on thirty interviews with activists variously associated with the abortion rights cause and building on longer-term research on body politics and women's and feminist movements in Argentina, this article explores how the body is relevant to abortion rights activism in at least two ways: the discursive framing of the demand and the activist practices that propel and sustain the demand. Activists' reclamation of the body took place not only through efforts to prevent the risks of unsafe abortions, but also by increasingly emphasizing the right to bodily self-determination as well as embodied joy, pleasure, and desire.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2151-7371
Print ISSN
2151-7363
Pages
pp. 25-51
Launched on MUSE
2021-08-18
Open Access
No
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