Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Douglass Sullivan-González

Second Advisor

Oliver Dinius

Third Advisor

Robert Brown

Relational Format



In August of 2018, thousands of protestors waited to hear results of the vote on the Voluntary Termination of the Pregnancy bill in the Argentinian Senate. Though the bill failed by seven votes, the near passage of the bill and the outpouring of protestors indicated that the issue of abortion had gained an increasing foothold in the legislature and in public discourse. This project seeks to explore in greater detail the emergence of activism on abortion legislation in the decades following the re-democratization of Argentina in 1983. Particularly throughout the 2000s and 2010s, advocates for both the expansion and repression of abortion rights used similar language to argue for their respective agendas, leaning on the local significance of “human rights” in the aftermath of the dictatorship that lasted from 1976-1983. My thesis seeks to answer the question: how have feminist organizations and religious organizations historically utilized talk of human rights to shape the debate on abortion, and how do they continue to do so today? I use a qualitative approach to explore the emergence of human rights language in the history of abortion activism from both sides of the abortion debate. I find that the Catholic Church’s involvement with the human rights abuses of the dictatorship taints the legitimacy of their human rights claim, while feminist women’s organizations tailor their claim to local sentiments in the aftermath of the dictatorship and align their human rights language with larger, international organizations that advocate for expanded abortion legislation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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