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ARGENTINA
Better reproductive health
IPS
11/21/2002
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Despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church and after more than a year of debate, the Argentine Senate passed a law granting women free access to contraceptives and establishing campaigns to prevent teenage pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and breast and genital cancer. The lower house of Congress approved the law in April 2001.

"This law will allow public hospitals to assist women throughout their reproductive lives," said Jorge Charalamboupoulos, a doctor and gynecology professor at the University of Buenos Aires. He said that access to contraceptives would help prevent about 150 deaths a year from botched abortions. While the practice is illegal in Argentina, some estimates put the number of clandestine abortions at about 450,000 annually (LP, Oct. 22, 2001).

The law will also encourage HIV-prevention campaigns, breastfeeding and early detection of cancer, while its provisions will reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, Charalamboupoulos said. Catholic Church leaders opposed the law, saying it would lead to legalization of abortion, increased use of contraceptives and a greater government role in sex education.

 


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