Chicas Poderosas launches investigation into the access of women and LGBTQI+ people to sexual and reproductive rights in Argentina during the pandemic

Novembre 24, 2020 – The access of women and LGBTQI+ people to their sexual and reproductive rights in Argentina has been hindered during the pandemic and the confinement, according to a collaborative journalistic investigation published today by Chicas Poderosas Argentina. The report, entitled “Los derechos no se aíslan” (in English, rights cannot be confined), was done with the support of the International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region (IPPFRHO) and the United Nations Population Fund country office (UNFPA Argentina).

“There’s a clear map of inequality in Argentina. Due only to the fact that they live in provinces outside of Buenos Aires City, specially in the northern part of the country, women and LGBTQI+ people are more likely to suffer obstetric violence, not have access to contraceptives, to have the legal interruption of pregnancies and more generally to the vulneration of sexual and reproductive rights,” says Sonia Tessa, editorial coordinator of the collaborative project. In Argentina, access to healthcare is free for anyone who needs it.

During the pandemic, the number of legal abortions in some provinces increased, compared to the same period in 2019. However, women are still dying due to unsafe abortions. In Argentina, access to abortions is ilegal in most cases. In 2018, the Senate rejected a bill that would have decriminalized abortion in all cases. Last week, the government sent a bill to decriminalize abortion to Congress.  

The investigation also found that the role of feminist collectives is crucial for women and pregnant people who want to terminate their pregnancies. Their reach has extended over the country, and they are in direct contact with them. 

Obstetric violence was another common issue during the confinement due to COVID-19. The pandemic also affected the delivery of contraceptives: in the case of condoms, it decreased six times.

“Los derechos no se aíslan” is an investigation that looks into the obstacles women and LGBTQI+ people face to access their sexual and reproductive rights. It was done through a collaborative reporting process, working with 45 women and LGBTQI+ journalists and communications professionals from all over Argentina. These stories reflect not only inequalities, but also the role of the state and the provincial governments, the support provided by feminist networks, and the debts toward vulnerable sectors of the population whose rights were affected during the pandemic of COVID-19. 

As part of the investigation, public information requests were made in all provinces and to the national government. Of those, only 30% had a satisfactory response. Based on that data as well as interviews and reporting, the situation in each Argentine province was relevated. “The pandemic added barriers to a system that was already far from guaranteeing a full exercise of rights; and it also affected the right to public information,” said Nicole Martin, project director. 

“Los derechos no se aíslan”can be explored in the website  www.losderechosnoseaislan.com created by Chicas Poderosas Argentina. Through 24 stories, as well as videos, podcasts, infographics, data visualizations and illustrations, the investigation tells how women and LGBTQI+ people accessed abortions, contraceptives, comprehensive sexual education, HIV treament, and homone treatments all over the country. 

“This research is proof of what can be achieved when the focus is collaboration and inclusion, when we seek to give space to more voices and to inform with a national scope that is based on local reporting,” said Carla Nudel, operative director of the project. 

“Los derechos no se aíslan” is the first investigation led and made by women and LGBTQI+ communications professionals with a federal focus, on sexual and reproductive rights in Argentina during the pandemic. 

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Chicas Poderosas Argentina is a local chapter of Chicas Poderosas, a global community that ignites change by inspiring and developing women in media, creating opportunities for all voices to be heard. 

Visit: www.losderechosnoseaislan.com

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