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Woman dies following illegal abortion in Argentina

THE family of an Argentinian woman who died after being forced to have an illegal abortion claimed on Tuesday that she had been left to die because she was poor.

Romina Fernandez died in a Buenos Aires hospital on August 12 after suffering complications from a clandestine termination just a day before the Argentinian Senate voted down legislation that would have introduced access to free and safe abortions.

The immediate cause of death was septic shock from an infection acquired during the abortion that quickly spread to her lungs and kidneys. 

However, her brother Miguel Fernandez said it was Argentina’s aversion to abortion that killed her.

“She died because she was poor. Because the poor do not exist. I was also against abortion until now.

“If I have to say why Romina died, I’d tell you it’s because they said: ‘She had an abortion, leave her,’ and they did not care about anything else, I’m sure,” he said.

Ms Fernandez is the second person known to have died as a result of a botched termination after the Senate rejected legislation that would have introduced legal, safe, and free abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy.

Thousands of people marched in support of the Bill, which was also backed by the majority of the Argentina’s population, according to national surveys. 

However, it was bitterly opposed by the Catholic church. Pope Francis branded abortion the “white glove” of the nazi eugenics programme and urged Argentinians to accept the children God has given them.

In the Senate vote, which followed 16 hours of intense debate, 24 of the 38 who voted against the Bill were men. 

Abortion remains illegal in Argentina except in cases of rape or a risk to the health of the mother. There are at least 350,000 illegal abortions in the country every year, but campaigners suggest that the real total may be much higher.

It has become a class issue, with the rich able to pay to go abroad for abortions and buy medicines, leaving the poor to rely on clandestine “backstreet abortions.”

According to the Ministry of Health, 43 people died after illegal procedures in 2016. 

Chile and Brazil are also debating changes to abortion laws, which are becoming a key issue in the battle for women’s rights across the region. 

So far, Uruguay and Cuba are the only Latin American nations to have decriminalised abortion. 

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