Celebrating twenty years of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Law
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In October 2002, after various projects were approved in the Chamber of Deputies, they went to the Senate where they were rejected or not dealt with. In 2002, the Law on Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation (Law 25,673) was approved. This law was the corollary of the struggle of many women defenders of the rights of individuals to decide on their sexuality and reproduction, who, since the recovery of democracy, have called for the national position to be reversed against all measures of birth control. Position that from the decree of the PEN 659 of the government of Isabel Perón, with the minister López Rega, all direct or indirect action of family planning –as it was called at that time– was prohibited and the possibility of prescribing or providing contraceptives in public hospitals and social works. At the regional and world level, feminists prepare for the Population Conference to be held in Cairo in 1994, and to which development was added for the first time. We prepared to defend rights and eliminate demographic targets, and we did it. Although the national government at the time was opposed to recognizing sexual and reproductive rights, we continued to advocate and got laws passed in 14 provinces, which were an important precedent for national law. At the national level, in 2002 several factors coincided that allowed the law, the three most important were: 1) for the first time the quota law was applied in the Senate by the decree of De la Rúa regulating it and there were almost 40% of female senators ; 2) the impact on infant and maternal mortality was disclosed based on the much-mentioned Tucumán case, and 3) there was a Minister of Health who promoted it.

The law created the program and it was incorporated into the Budget, the challenge was how to ensure its validity throughout the country for all people since there were many doubts and even opposition. For this reason, in 2003 my organization, FEIM, together with three organizations: the Reproductive Rights Forum, Cladem and the National Network of Adolescents and Youth for Sexual and Reproductive Health, created the National Consortium for Reproductive and Sexual Rights –Conders– which, for eight For years we have coordinated four hundred youth, human rights, women’s and adolescent groups, and young people have monitored the implementation of the law throughout the country. We managed to reach the most remote places and we were able to inform the population about these rights and also that the public health services, social and private works recognized their responsibilities in the implementation of the law. This took time and joint work between the health services and civil society groups that demanded that not only the information be ensured, but also the provision of contraceptive methods without exclusions. This was difficult for adolescents since many refused to care for them without going with an older person or denied that they had the right despite the fact that the law made this right explicit from the age of 13.

Twenty years after the law, much progress has been made largely due to the persistence of organizations and groups of professionals and civil society, which did not stop promoting progress, and even expanded the right to legal termination of pregnancy, first when The Supreme Court clarified the scope of legal abortion according to the Penal Code –ILE– and then with the approval, in 2020, of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Law –IVE–. Not everything was achieved, but progress was permanent and continuous. It is necessary to ensure that the Comprehensive Sexual Education Law –ESI–, which is related to and has a much lower level of implementation, is applied throughout the country.

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