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For legal abortion and an inclusive democracy

Florencia Minici is a member of the collective Ni Una Menos and co-director of Latfem Noticias. In May she spoke in congress, in favour of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy law. Here is her full speech. Español

Florencia Minici. Source: Cosecha Roja. All rights reserved.

“First of all, I would like to ask my colleagues with whom we built the space Ni Una Menos in 2015, founded upon massive presence in our streets, in universities, in public squares, in offices, in bedrooms, in politics, in culture, to accompany me throughout this brief exposition, as we witness a turning point in the history of the fight for human rights in our country. 

I ask for deputies to look carefully at this image from 2015. I’m not offering the leftovers of a body whose life and vitality can be debated ad infinitum, nor the traces of a personal biography.

I want to propose a form of political thought from another body, the body of collective occupations in the streets through the feminist strike, mobilisations and the feminist assembly.

It seems at this point paradoxical that we are invited to make up part of the agenda of the G20 but we’re denied the right to decide if we wish to continue with a pregnancy or not.

We feminists don’t come to Parliament to ask that you “make history”, which would imply superiority of the deliberation over the popular, plural and assembly based deliberation already occurring on the streets of Argentina.

The state doesn’t “make history” with capital letters in the grandiose way that history is told in Billiken* magazine: history is a flow of advancements, setbacks, repetitions and returns, conquests and defeats, that are constructed by the people, constructed by us all. 

The task here that I wish to discuss is not the historic gesture in the name of the state, but an inversion of this proposal: deputies, don’t “make history”.

Gather together this popular feminist eruption in Argentine and Latin American society, see this image, and don’t underestimate or believe that you’re above this popular feminist movement. When legislating, don’t be heroes or heroines: problematize political representation.

You are not on these benches to make history in place of the people, but alongside the people. In politics, you occupy a temporary space like the rest of us, that the dynamics of social struggle of the democratic nation in which we live can locate in one place or another.

I’m also accompanied by feminist journalists, writers and academics who assumed the task of communicating with responsibility, of connecting academia with activism, of disputing compartmentalised sentiments that disassociate theory from practice, those communications of responsibility under the cloak of an apparent dispassionate objectivity.

Feminists of both our generation and others that left us a legacy understand that the fight against the patriarchy is a transformative praxis and a criticism of the world we live in.

But the massive irruption that culminated in the decisive point in 2015 with the first meeting of Ni Una Menos, coordinated feminist praxis with the installation of our agendas and debates in the agendas of the media, as well as a substantiating critique of the hierarchy, of male and heterosexual supremacy.

And thus, it was not so simple: feminism ceased to be a discussion among only feminists and became a plural and cross-sectional discussion of the masses.

As theorist Nancy Fraser indicated, gender equality and social equality can’t be reduced to only breaking the glass ceiling and placing us in positions of leadership; it’s about something much bigger.

We understand that a feminism for the 99% of us cannot be based on meritocracy and hierarchies. That’s why we profoundly reject the argument that seeks to remove our right to bodily sovereignty.

The clandestine nature of abortion in our country is one of the last legal, moral, and political shackles that we must break in order to obtain our historically vindicated rights.

It seems at this point paradoxical that we are invited to make up part of the agenda of the G20 but we’re denied the right to decide if we wish to continue with a pregnancy or not.

The clandestine nature of abortion in our country is one of the last legal, moral, and political shackles that we must break in order to obtain our historically vindicated rights. Our democracy is not plural, it’s a macho democracy where the practice of abortion remains illegal.

The feminism we’ve created, and which the future generations will recreate, is not a feminism for remaining calm, for broadening the controls of corporations, but for creating debate surrounding the mandates and subaltern statuses that have been socially assigned to us.

We wish to remove obligations once and for all of the duty to be a mother, to be good, to be calm, to abstain from strikes, or embrace heteronormativity. There is a new mass femininity, and just as nobody is born as a feminist, Argentine democracy was not built upon feminism.

What has been debated these weeks in our country is not just a law that removes abortion from the realms of the underground, that challenges this consecration of death and silence, but also a law that puts forth the possibility of an inclusive democracy, which others fought for, which we will fight for, which those who come next will continue to fight for.

Ni una menos, legal abortion now!

This article is being published in the framework of our partnership with Cosecha Roja. The original can be read here

 

*Billiken is a children’s magazine popular in Argentina throughout the 20th century

About the author

Cosecha Roja es la red de Periodistas judiciales de América Latina, con noticias de Argentina y el continente con un enfoque de derechos humanos..

Cosecha Roja is the Latin American Judicial Journalists’ Network. It publishes news from Argentina and Latin America with a Human Rights perspective. 


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