Decriminalization of abortion in Paraguay: I decide

By Juntas y a la izquierda Paraguay

Rights, health and justice

This capitalist system is not designed for women, much less to watch over our bodies and our sexuality. The stigmatization of abortion in Paraguay, in Latin America and the world does not surprise us, but it must end. Religious fundamentalism and conservative governments do nothing but stall the processes of struggle and the scope of the conquest of rights in terms of Comprehensive Sex Education and Human Rights.

Talking about abortion not only has a subjective moralistic view, it includes more psychosocial factors, religious and political interests and, above all, economic factors that serve the capitalist patriarchal system.

The Ministry of Children and Adolescents find that 85% of abuses of boys and girls occurs in the family environment (incest, rape, coercion). The voluntary interruption of pregnancy is an undeniable reality, debating about it is crucial. Paraguay ranks first in the Southern Cone in pregnancies of girls and adolescents, with 20,000 children born to girls and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19. According to the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare, during 2020, 8,000 women entered hospital services, and 3,877 complications occurred due to abortion practices, which shows that not talking about it and penalizing it in any way becomes an impediment to its clandestine practice. According to the 2917 calculation of the magnitude of induced abortion in Paraguay, 30,000 abortions are performed per year, which continues to be on the list of causes of death in our country. Here we emphasize what Celeste Fierro pointed out: In countries where abortion is legal, not only were deaths from abortion reduced to zero, but also the number of abortions. That is why the right to abortion is a matter of public health. The procedure is selectively penalized for being an elitist practice. In several offices, hospitals or private clinics, this practice is carried out with all the elements and sanitary and safe instruments that require the protection of the lives of women who can afford it. However, those who cannot afford an abortion are forced to perform it in an unhealthy and totally unsafe manner with the risk of becoming sterile, with sequelae, contracting infections and even death. That is why the right to abortion is also a matter of social justice.

Talking about legal abortion is talking about sexual health, and talking about sexual health is talking about Comprehensive Sexual Education (ESI) with the right to freedom, security, integrity and the right to make responsible and free reproductive decisions. It is about autonomy and emotional sexual expression, for this the learning of scientific knowledge with a human rights approach is vital in the configuration of curricular guidelines and their content in all educational institutions and at all levels according to the processes of training, which in turn makes it possible to suppress the current practice of reducing CSE only to reproductive aspects such as contraceptive methods and family planning, and would integrate sexual rights, a component that transcends non-isolated events such as getting married and forming a family, living a full sexuality, without violence. In Paraguay, sexual and reproductive health in terms of function, scope and impact has not been studied in depth, despite the implementation of the National Plan for Sexual and Reproductive Health since 2014, so promoting discussion about these rights is essential, since the enjoyment of sexual and reproductive rights is a matter of Human Rights.

Juntas y a la izquierda Argentina mobilized for the right to abortion. 

All women and pregnant people have the Democratic Right to decide over their bodies with total autonomy from religious, political, family, police and legal issues. The State does not guarantee us a secular, free or scientific system. On the contrary, it fulfills the patriarchal, sexist and misogynist role based on the destructive capitalism in which we are immersed without being able to assume motherhood by our own decision.

Social policies, precariousness and resistance

The precarious contents of social programs at the level of social health policies and everything that concerns public policies are justified with minimal assistance and significant religious influences that objectively do not save lives or lift girls, adolescents and women out of poverty. This, in turn, promotes the absence of more up-to-date and complex data, thus becoming one of the main limitations to advancing in the discussion and design of public policies that guarantee the comprehensive well-being of women.

The high feminization of poverty in Paraguay keeps women in constant risk and vulnerability. A State that does not guarantee access to a dignified life will do so less in terms of comprehensive sexual education. Many peasant and indigenous women do not know how to address these issues in terms of sexual education, or how to guide other generations, a symptom of women’s lack of access to medical care, education and job opportunities, and the certainty that for this government women are not a priority, but the big businessmen, carrying out anti-rights proposals that cut the budget for the integral life of women, girls and adolescents, allocating it to the business mafia for electoral purposes, paying the infinite external debt, and granting more subsidies to the church and private companies.

Governments need us poor to control our way of life and reproduction. Capitalism sees motherhood as unpaid domestic work (care economy) and in this framework it becomes a business, making pharmaceutical companies, private hospitals, supplies and merchandise for infants and children available given the cost required for the growth and sustenance of a life, a situation that a precarious woman, without a home, without a paid job and without financial stability will not be able to access. Being a mother should be a decision, not an imposition.

The inequality gap and lack of access to basic rights is a problem. Women, although we are from different social strata, have something in common: no access to comprehensive, free, secular, and free healthcare. For this reason, a government of the workers, with a gender perspective, is urgent and necessary.

Since time immemorial, women have fought for equality, for our education, for the right to express an opinion and for our free sexuality oppressed by a clerical State that floods us with its feudal ideologies and remains in total ignorance about the reality of women, the working class, and the communities.

From the International Socialist League we commit ourselves to the collective thought of the working class and we call for the permanent mobilization of all women and dissidents because we are not carrying this fight alone, we are all carrying it from the sorority that has no borders and from the cry in the streets for a collective, anti-capitalist, eco-socialist, anti-imperialist, internationalist, feminist and socialist class consciousness.

Che reté che mba’e: my body, my decision.

We repudiate the government that forces girls to become mothers even in cases of sexual abuse without the physical and psychological maturity to exercise motherhood.

We embrace the combative comrades of our Latin America for the cry of the green tide claiming Church and State: separate issues!

We are committed to scientific information, overcoming the retrograde taboos of the patriarchal system that we repudiate. No more religious fundamentalism!

We celebrate the conquest of the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia and in several Latin American countries.

Our center is not about encouraging women to have an abortion, but about exercising the right to decide over our own bodies, the struggle is and will always be for the conquest of more rights, the fight for socialism.

From the left we will always defend the decriminalization of abortion, so join us in Alternativa Socialista Paraguay and the International Socialist League, so the dignified life that we so long for becomes possible.