“The segment of society that wants to return us to the dark ages is real. This has to be a wake-up call, that a legal victory is not a cultural one.”- Ana Cristina González Vélez, a Colombian doctor and co-founder of Mesa por la Vida, an organization that was part of the successful campaign for decriminalization of abortion in Colombia.
For nearly one hundred years, abortion in Argentina was solely available in the case of rape or threat to the mother’s life.
But in 2003, the start of “Marea Verde” or “Green Wave” movement which would ultimately legalize abortion and spark a subsequent series of movements throughout Latin America to unify advocates and push reproductive justice agendas.
Initial efforts for reproductive freedom in Argentina began in the 1970s when military dictatorship added further restrictions to require “grave” danger to health and criminal prosecution in cases of rape.
But it was in 2003, when abortion was added to the agenda of the National Women’s Meeting in Argentina (ENM) that the movement grew tremendously and the organization Catholics for the Right to Decide commissioned sewing cooperatives to produce 3,000 green bandanas for the women’s march.
The green bandana was chosen as a sign of nature, hope and health; building upon the white scarves that mothers wore whose children “disappeared” under dictatorship in the late 70s and early 80s.
In combination with aggressive campaigns and protests, the green bandana persisted and in 2018, in response to a wave of violence and murder of Argentinian women, more than one million took to the street wearing green scarves with the #NiUnaMenos (Not One More) movement.
As protests spread throughout Latin America, the language was direct and consistent: abortion rights are healthcare rights and the right to safety is a human right.
This wave of movements led to Argentina’s legalization of abortion in 2020, Mexico’s declaration of prosecution for abortion unconstitutional in 2021 and Colombia’s legalization of abortion up to 24 weeks in 2022.
All movements banned together, all solidified under the visible green bandana.
In the last week, in the wake of overturning Roe v. Wade, we see the green bandana in the streets of protests throughout the United States. We stand with those fighting for reproductive justice, we believe that the right to one’s body is a human right, and we move in gratitude for the movements in Latin America providing unrelenting strength and unity. - Maureen Post
photo credit - Huffington Post