How did abortion become legal in majority-Catholic Argentina?

In Latin America, faith and politics are being disentangled.

In recent years, Argentina has experienced a mighty social movement, as many thousands of women have worn green to show support for abortion rights. One demonstration in 2018 re­ported a million women participating; more recently, green face masks have been ubiquitous. The eventual success of that “green wave” campaign—a landmark law was enacted this January—came despite fierce opposition from the churches. This points to an epochal change in the power of organized religion in the region at large.

One of the most significant trends in modern US history has been the sharp growth in the Latino presence: by 2050, perhaps 25 or 30 percent of the population will claim a Latino identity. Yet despite that, Americans often view Latin America through stereotypes that are dated and increasingly dubious, and that is especially true in matters of faith.

It’s still common to find media re­ports suggesting that Latin American nations are overwhelmingly and unquestioningly religious, and that the main question at issue is whether those supposedly pious populations adhere to traditional Cath­olic loyalties or else convert to some Protestant or Pentecostal de­nomination. Underlying that picture is the assumption that these societies are still marked by very high, “third world” fertility, with large families and markedly young age profiles.