Mansplaining and Ableism Regarding Abortion in Argentina

Mansplaining and Ableism Regarding Abortion in Argentina July 3, 2018

Gabriela Michetti is a disabled woman who suffered mansplaining and ableism regarding abortion
Gabriela Michetti leading the king of Norway into the Argentine Senate. (Taken by Charly Diaz Azcue of Comunicacion Senado, put in the public domain by the Argentine government)

Gabriela Michetti, the VP of Argentina, is a disabled woman. She is against abortion in ALL cases. However, when the debate on abortion started in the Senate, there was some mansplaining and ableism directed against her after she mentioned she was against abortion after rape.

What Happened in Argentina

I’ve translated the following report from Clarín, the largest newspaper in Argentina.

Deputy Daniel Lipovetzky was very critical of Vice President Gabriela Michetti on Monday, in relation to the statements she made about abortion in La Nación [a large Argentine Newspaper].

In an interview that newspaper published Sunday, the [Vice President] was against the interruption of pregnancy even in cases of rape. [“Interruption of pregnancy” is a euphamism for abortion.]

Specifically, when the journalist asked her if she would allow abortion in cases of rape, Michetti said: “No. I said it clearly always, you can give it up for adoption; you can see what happens during pregnancy and work with the psychologist. I don’t know.” 

This morning, Lipovetzky, one of the main promoters of the project of voluntary interruption of pregnancy […] described Michetti’s statements as “a huge setback.”

“Abortion due to rape is a law that in Argentina has been on the books since 1921, that is, 100 years ago,” the deputy explained. […]

At that time, Michetti explained: “In Cambiemos [political coalition of both Michetti and Lipovetzky] there are different visions. As there had been a demonstration in favor of ‘yes,’ we wanted to state that there is another important sector within the coalition that has the stance in favor of the two lives.”

You can read the original.

The Mansplaining and Ableism behind It

I want to clarify what each is and point each out.


Mansplaining is, according to Merriam-Webster, “when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he’s talking to does.”

I think that Michetti understood that Argentian has allowed abortion in cases of rape for a long time. She just happens to disagree with it. However, Lipovetzky decided to condescendingly remind her what the law is.

And we are always told that men shouldn’t talk about abortion because they don’t experience pregnancy. Here we have the opposite with a man disregarding a woman’s view. This is unacceptable.


Ableism is, again according to Merriam-Webster, “discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities.” Here is is prejudice, not discrimination.

Abortion is often used to discriminate against those with disabilities like Michetti. Although her injuries are from a car accident, many others have disabilities that have – or soon will have – prenatal screening. In many countries diagnoses like Down Syndrome are almost a death sentence. Pope Francis spoke about this form of abortion recently. Talking down to a disabled person about a law that would disproportionately harm the disabled seems like ableism.

Two Conclusions

Abortion should never be legal, period. Using underhanded tactics to shut down pro-life voices during debate makes it worse.

We who are pro-life also need to recognize biases, like mansplaining and ableism, and fight against them. We need to work towards ending all biases against life.

EDIT: In case anyone doubted Pope Francis’s stance, he wrote a letter to Argentinians on this recently and said:

I ask that all of you may be channels of good and beauty, so that you can make your contribution in the defense of life and justice, so that you may sow peace and fraternity, so that you improve the world with your work. I pray take you care for the weakest and share all that God has given you with full hands.

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