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11 WEEKS, 23 HOURS, 59 MINUTES CLANDESTINE ABORTION IN ARGENTINA A work by Guadalupe G贸mez Verdi, Lisa Franz, L茅a Meurice

11 weeks, 23 hours, 59 minutes Clandestine abortion in Argentina A work by Guadalupe Gómez Verdi, Lisa Franz, Léa Meurice

400.000 abortions a year. 2 abortions per day, 2 in a woman’s life. 60.000 hospitalizations per year. 80 dead women per year. Access to abortion is a human right.

We are three young photographers that chose to live in Argentina,

We have different nationalities (Argentine, German, and French), different ages, and each one of us was educated and socialized according to the costumes of the place where we grew up. We initiated this project with the aim of getting an understanding

why , abortion

remains to be illegal and a subject of taboo in Argentina in the 21st century, and why the right to take decisions about one’s body still is questioned.

In the encounter between two continents, the reality in Argentina confronts with our own view of woman. It is difficult for us to understand why women in a country like Argentina still are not guaranteed freedoms that are fundamental in terms of equality and autonomy. In France and Germany the emancipation of women began four decades ago and abortion is legal. With this photographic project we want to shed light on stories and realities, and reveal and show

testimonies of women and men who have experienced at least one abortion in their life.

Beyond any political, religious and cultural position, we want to embrace the right to legal abortion, a fundamental freedom of each individual.


His family told him to forbid me to make an abortion.


MARA 2002 Voluntary termination of pregnancy at the age of 21.

CAMILA 2007 Voluntary termination of pregnancy at the age of 21. “My concern with this was always the fact that I was aware that there were no place which looked after you. Everything was so illegal that I did not want to expose myself to a situation in which I could die.�

PEDRO 2012

Support to a voluntary termination of pregnancy at the age of 24.

My biggest fear was that it would not work.

ELUNEY 2012 Voluntary termination of pregnancy at the age of 21.

MĂ“NICA 2012 Voluntary termination of pregnancy at the age of 38.

I exposed my body.


There are and will be millions of reasons. Reasons and motives that nobody should judge. Every pregnancy and abortion is full of symbolism and content. Every woman experiences her body and its changes in a personal way. But, who decides for them, for us? Others. Bodies are legislated and classified. So we decide and choose from the illegality and clandestineness. We accept the violence that others cause us. Punishable abortion condemns. Punishable abortion discriminates. Punishable abortion silences. Punishable abortion depersonalizes. Punishable abortion points you out. Punishable abortion abandons you. To criminalizing abortion is to exercise violence against women, extending oppressive relationships regulated in this society. Fear is caused by the same clandestineness, not to know who to turn to, who to talk openly to. The fear of being judged and put aside.

Clandestine abortion is the leading cause of pregnancy related death. The majority of women who die are young, poor and migrants, without resources to access a safe abortion. Many suffer physical consequences. All of them are criminalized. The rule is hypocrisy and silence. The debate is silent due to religious and cultural reasons. Due to the church, chauvinism, patriarchy, the traditional idea of the family, and the morality rule. The punishment is the lack of education, the misinformation, the lack of freedom to choose. To have an abortion is a political act, exercising a direct action on the body. Our body is our territory, our physical space of freedom. And nowadays abortion is an act of civil disobedience. Abortion should be included in the political agenda and a matter of public health. But, would a legal framework be enough? It is necessary but not sufficient. We have abortions.

and will keep Power and

on having sovereignty.


I was pregnant for two months and I was shoveling every day, digging dirt and debris. I would come here and I would get rid of bad vibes and concerns.


MARA C 2012

Voluntary termination of pregnancy at the age of 23.


I am a women of a generation with three characteristics: sexual abuse, abortion and domestic violence.

Voluntary termination of pregnancy at the ages of 16, 22 and 24.


MABEL BELLUCCI 1966, 1972, 1974



I have aborted in the bodies of other women.

LILIANA 1980, 1986 Voluntary termination of pregnancy at the ages of 17 and 24.

ADRIANA 1982 Voluntary termination of pregnancy at the age of 19. In the lives of women, I think it is the worst thing we have to go through. Why? Because of the discourse. Because of the meaning given to it by all the people involved in this‌ and you are always blamed, always. Oh, but when you did it, you liked it! It is always that thing of blaming women. I think it has to do with the hypocrisy of religion.�

GISELA y NICOLAS 2010 Voluntary termination of pregnancy at the age of 34.

“I knew I was pregnant again one day after my daughter turned 10 years old. At that time I was 33 years old and had two children. Being able to have an abortion at home, with pills, made me feel like the absolute owner of my body; a sense of freedom very similar to the one I felt when I decided to become a mother�

LEA, 23 YEARS OLD, FRENCH. In France, abortion has been legal since 1975. On October 26th, 2012, two new measures were adopted: the gratuity of contraception for minors and the full reimbursement of termination of pregnancy. This is the result of a fight, a fight of women who endangered their integrity and freedom to achieve their independence and their right to decide over their own body. Motherhood should be a decision, not a mandate. Being a woman does not mean being a mother. Violence is to talk about the “right to life” if we cannot decide about our own. What right to life is the one with value? If one cannot be the owner of its own body, where does freedom begin? What one thinks about the beginning of life or the existence of the soul is part of inner convictions and should not interfere with law

“However, some things must be said, and there are times when silence becomes an accomplice to injustice.” (Ayaan Hirsi Ali). To work and think about illegal abortion leads me to talk about what it is to be a woman today.

DRA. GABRIELA LUCHETTI TEA – Post-abortion control, counseling and contraception Regional hospital, Castro Rendón, City of Neuquén

“For many years, you would come and tell me that you wanted an abortion, and I would tell you abortion is illegal and there is nothing I can do about it. So you would have leaved with your problem and maybe you would throw yourself under a train. What else would you be able to do? You would seek help from someone outside the medical corporation.”

Feminist Group La Revuelta

“Every abortion is different, because each of these women has a life, a personal experience, thus it is very difficult to reduce the experiences of an abortion, which is tremendously complex… We try to empower women with us.”

SONIA SÁNCHEZ 1982 Five voluntary termination of pregnancy. “I have seen women who have died due to abortion and Jane Does. Because you are a prostitute, nobody claims for you. The cafishio will not claim for you. They know that you died due to a clandestine abortion and you are a whore, so they do nothing. What family? What mother says that whore is my daughter? What son says that is my mother? What father says that whore is my daughter? No one. And what woman says other whore is my friend? None”


That abortion is illegal in Argentina seems like a story of the last century, but it is in fact more real than reality itself. Clandestine abortion is daily practised by thousands of women even if it is illegal. Why does this happen? Because an unwanted pregnancy is a real and inevitable event in human life. Although the prevailing view is that women always and at any time want and can have children.

In Germany, women can have an abortion under certain conditions without feeling guilty or convicted. Therefore, I wish that in the country where I chose to live, women and men have the right to have a legal abortion and are able to decide about their own body, peacefully without anxieties, fear or solitude, with total awareness that abortion is a simple practice without major risks, if it is performed under safe conditions.

Taking into account the situation of my country, where abortion is legal, I realized the importance of the legality pregnancy termination, because deciding to have an abortion is not easy for most women. It is of great importance that we have access to information and professional advice, the gratuity of the service and that there is comprehensive sex education in schools.

The project “11 weeks, 23 days and 59 minutes. Clandestine abortion in Argentina” wants to trace the story of you and I, dealing with illegal abortion so that in the future everybody can decide freely.

The real numbers that one can consult are 80.000 admissions due to abortion complications in public hospitals in the Republic of Argentina every year, and the majority of them are not performed by doctors.

DR. GERMÁN CARDOSO Member of the Argentine medical group for the right of women to decide in a situation of an unwanted pregnancy.

The equality of persons, their ability to make free choices without coercion, the freedom to decide about their own body, their sexuality, their life and their identity, the ability to receive information and education about sexual and reproductive health, the possibility to have children and the ability to decide if they want to have them, when and at what time, are part of the human rights of all women, youths and girls. The fact that there are women who die or become seriously ill due to the fear of visiting a health care service after having undergone an abortion under unsafe and clandestine conditions requires that we rethink the policy we want for Argentina. Women should never be subjected to criminal or forced processes that put their life or health at risk, when they need to terminate their pregnancy. With the campaign “My Body, My Rights”, Amnesty International aims at ensuring sexual and reproductive rights of persons, their access to information, education about sexuality and access to sexual and reproductive health necessary to have a healthy and safe life. Through the campaign “Right to decide”, Amnesty International seeks to promote a serious, diverse, informed and transparent debate in the National Congress about the decriminalization of abortion. A debt of Argentina´s democracy. To





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