Anti-natalist policies in Argentina forebode a ‘demographic winter’

By Giselle Vargas for CNA

Close up of empty crib. / Anna Jurkovska/Shutterstock

Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 31, 2021 / 12:01 pm (CNA).

“The results of the anti-natalist policies implemented in recent years predict a ‘demographic winter’” for Argentina, warned the digital newsletter Notivida.

In its May 26 issue, Notivida said that “the effects of the anti-natalist policies carried out in recent years and augmented by the current government (of President Alberto Fernández), presage that Argentina will not escape the ‘demographic winter'” which prevails “in much of the world. ”

The warning comes following the publication of statistics provided by the Fernández administration, which indicate that the number of births continues to decline markedly.

The number of births fell from 777,012 in 2014 to 625,441 in 2019, the lowest number of live births since 1980.

Similarly, the birth rate per 1,000 inhabitants fell from 18.2 in 2014 to 13.9 in 2019.

In 2014, the average number of children per woman was 2.32, but in 2019 it dropped to 1.81.

“Fertility fell sharply” to the point that Argentina has fallen “below the level of population replacement” of  2.1 children per woman, Notivida pointed out.

In 2014, during the administration of Cristina Fernández, the Ministry of Health began the distribution of the subdermal implant, a long lasting contraceptive aimed at women under 25 years of age.

The same agency, “with the ‘technical support’ of the local branch of the International Planned Parenthood Federation,” drew up the abortion protocols issued by the Ministry of Health in 2015, Notivida said.

In 2017, during the presidency of Mauricio Macri, the ENIA Plan (Unintentional Pregnancy in Adolescence) was implemented by providing counseling services on sexual health, contraception, and abortion.

In 2018, a bill to legalize abortion was introduced in the National Congress and although it passed in the Chamber of Deputies, it was defeated in the Senate, temporarily halting the drive toward legal abortion.

A new bill to legalize abortion, with the strong support of Fernandez, who made it a campaign promise,  was passed on Dec. 30, 2020. At the same time, the use of misoprostol as an abortifacient was also approved.

Demographic decline has also been predicted by the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina, which in January 2019 forecast that 20% of the population will be over 64 by 2050.

“The future, unfortunately, will find an aging Argentine population, without reserves to fall back on, with a growing foreign debt, with policies that promote birth control and the reduction of the economically active population.”

“Who’s going to support an aging population that spends more on health, gets a pension or retirement benefits and changes their consumption habits?” the UCA questioned.

“Demographic and economic policies should reduce the dependency index, promote an increase in the number of workers and their productivity, stimulate the birth rate and create changes in the way the production process (technology, education) is organized,” the university advised.

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