Why I Chose This Project

Women’s Rights and Reproductive Rights in particular were a huge talking point 2018. In May a historic referendum was passed in Ireland with 66.4% of the vote (Henley,2018) that removed the eighth amendment to the constitution,thus enabling the legalization of abortion. On the opposite side of the world, a bill that aimed to legalize abortion failed to get through the Senate in Argentina (Argentina Abortion, 2018). I followed both stories in the media, so when it came to decide on a translation topic I immediately started researching the situation in Argentina

It is estimated that 500,000 women have abortions in Argentina every year, and that 3,000 women have died since 1983 following complications from clandestine abortions. The National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion was launched in 2005,and their signature green flag – “pañuelo verde” – became a ubiquitous sight on the street during pro-choice demonstrations. Their aims can be summed up in their slogan “Educación sexual para decidir, anticonceptivos para no abortar, aborto legal para no morir” Sexual education so that we can decide, contraception so we don’t have abort, legal abortion so we don’t die. (Campaña Nacional, 2018) 

The Pañuelo Verde

Despite the legal restrictions, women in Ireland and Argentina were having abortions. In Ireland, they were getting the boat, in Argentina they were turning to the world of Clandestinidad and unsafe backstreet abortions.    

What particularly struck me during the lead up to the Irish referendum was the traction that Facebook pages like “In Her Shoes – Women of the Eighth” gained. This page published stories that women had sent in about their own experiences with abortion in Ireland, stories of the boat, the shame, the secrecy. The exit polls (MacShane, 2018) indicated that these personal stories were the most influential factor for people’s voting decision. In the English media coverage of abortion in Argentina, the stories were all of a similar vein, containing lots of statistics and opinions about the strength of the Catholic Church. I knew from personal experience that the stories and information available in the run up to the Irish referendum varied wildly, and I thought that within Argentina there would be much more sources about the issue. Seeing as personal stories can have a large impact, as shown in the Irish Referendum, it was these kind of documents I wanted to find.  

I started my search on the “Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres” page  https://www.argentina.gob.ar/inam, but found scant results on the site for “aborto” and “interrupción voluntatia del embarazo”.Remembering that these kind of stories play out mainly on social media, rather than official websites, I began to trawl through  YouTube, Twitter and Facebook searching for different various formulations of “Aborto en Argentina” and eventually found a list of films about abortion. (Blancas, 2014) that had been shared on a Facebook page. One of the films on the list was Clandestinas, which was available on YouTube. Clandestinas is an independent documentary, made in 2011. It seemed to be a very personal work by the directors, which allows the interviewees to share their experiences of abortion. They all talk about the burden caused not only by the illegality, but also by the secrecy and the refusal to talk about it openly. The documentary is resoundingly in favour of decriminalization, and I knew that I had found what I wanted to translate.

As Alejandra La Concha, the lawyer who appears in Clandestinas says, sometimes people forget that in order to change things, it is important to start small and start by listening. By translating these women’s stories into English I hoped to bring them to a larger audience, and enable that to happen.

Useful Links 

for full Bibliography, click here http://clandestinas.hs3004.com/bibliography/