As Argentina’s Senate prepares to debate a bill on expanding abortion access, hundreds of physicians have demonstrated against infanticide, reports the Voice of America. Doctors carried signs stating, “I’m a doctor, not a murderer,” and laid white medical coats in front of the presidential palace.
Doctors for Life, which boasts 1,000 members, has helped organize the pro-life demonstrations. Other organizations which oppose the abortion measure include Argentina’s Academy of Medicine, which issued a statement affirming the personhood of unborn children: “to destroy a human embryo means impeding the birth of a human being,” the statement reads. “Nothing good can come when society chooses death as a solution.”
Officials from nearly 300 medical centers and private hospitals have also decried the proposed legislation, which would legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and prohibit medical institutions from refusing to perform abortion procedures.
“The defense of life is at the very foundation of our institution,” explained Ernesto Beruti, an obstetrician at Austral University Hospital. “We see ever more doctors joining [the protests].”
Should Argentina’s proposed measure become law, pro-life doctors would have to register as conscientious objectors with government authorities. As a result, some physicians fear professional discrimination and ostracism from colleagues who favor abortion.
Even pro-abortion doctors could face legal consequences under the statute, if they fail to meet the measure’s five-day deadline for responding to an abortion request. “Doctors can’t work under the threat of prison time,” stated Maria de los Angeles Carmona, head of gynecology at Eva Peron Hospital, a government-run institution.
Despite the threat posed by Argentina’s abortion bill, pro-life physicians in the country remain committed to their values. “How far are we willing to go to? Jail,” Ernesto Beruti stated. “Even if the law is passed, I’m not going to eliminate the life of a human being. The most important right is the right to live.”