torstai 8. maaliskuuta 2012

One woman's life

For the International Women's Day let me tell you the story of a girl named "Liliana".

Liliana was born to a very poor family that lived in a simple house next to the Campo de La Ribera. Liliana and her older brother went to a local school and lived their lives in poverty but peace. Liliana participated in the workshops at Campo de La Ribera and her father worked there occasionally cutting grass and cleaning the yard.

When Liliana was 15, she found out she was 3 months pregnant. She was living with her boyfriend at the time. They had only been together for 2 months sofar so the boyfriend knew that the child wasn't his. He made it clear that he would not participate in any way in raising this child. That night, on the eve of her fathers 58th birthday, Liliana went home and shot herself.

This happened on Wednesday. Because the family didn't have a phone, we at La Ribera helped the family to get a free coffin and assisted them in finding a free burial ground. The burial took place this afternoon.

Abortion is illegal in Argentina. In January an 11-year-old girl who had been raped was denied abortion. The provincial health minister stated that if the girl was able to get pregnant, she was also able to become a mother. Abortion is only allowed if the life of the mother is in danger or if the pregnancy is the result of rape of a mentally disabled woman. Even in these cases doctors usually deny abortion because of moral or uncertainty of how to interpret the law. Needless to say, therea are about 500.000-700.000 illegal abortions per year. Although wealthier women can afford safe abortion, the steadily growing poorer classes have to settle with knitting needles and coathangers.

This year  the governement most likely will vote on legalizing abortion in some cases. Yet the result is unpredictable. The lobbying against abortion is strong and e.g. the family of the 11-year-old girl mentioned above has been harrassed by Catholic groups for supporting abotion. In a country with probably the best health care system in Latin America, who would have thought?

This text is dedicated to all the women who have died or committed suicide because of a ban on abortion. Pro-life!

2 kommenttia:

  1. A deep sigh. Great text, Hanna! But I must add: these kind of stories raise not only the topic of banning abortion but also the one of promoting safe sex. I feel like there's so many stories of unexpected (and often teenage) pregnancies in Latin America and in the world and that they cannot all be explained by the poor access to condoms (they aren't expensive after all) - so the reason must lye in poor sexual health education. Pro-safe sex!

    1. I completely agree on that one. Safe sex is a topic that should have high priority especially in poorer countries. It's one of the more efficient ways of enabling people to better control their lives, to control their expenses and to invest in better future with less mouths to feed. Unfortunately, even though the women would advocate for safe sex, it's not given that they're always listened to. So, all in all, more education and better access to contraceptives!