Like many conservatives, I watched the rise of Javier Milei in Argentina with great interest – most notably, his opposition to abortion and the LGBT movement. I began following his career trajectory earlier than most not due to his economic policies – that is not my area of expertise, and I don’t claim any expertise on issues such as inflationary policy – but because of his suggestion that he might consider a plebiscite to repeal Argentina’s recent legalization of abortion. Milei detailed his pro-life stance during an interview with Tucker Carlson.
“As a libertarian, we believe the liberalism entails the unrestricted respect for the lives of others,” he told Carlson. “Rooted in the principle of non-aggression and the defense of life, liberty, and property. If we believe these ideas of liberty, one of the most fundamental aspects is to defend the right to life. Philosophically speaking, I am in favor of the right to life. Beyond that there is the scientific justification. It is the fact that life begins at conception. It’s at that very instant that a new being begins to evolve with its own unique DNA.”
“It is true that women have the right to their own bodies,” he continued. “But the child in a woman’s body is not her body. That child is not her body. That makes abortion a murder, enabled and aggravated by a power imbalance against a child that has no way to defend itself. Beyond that, there is a matter of mathematics. Life is a continuum with two quantum leaps – birth, and death. Any interruption in the interim is murder.” That qualifies as one of the best defences of the pro-life position I’ve ever heard from a politician.
Javier Milei was elected last month and sworn in as president of Argentina on December 10. I reached out to several of my pro-life contacts in Argentina’s Blue Wave movement to get their reaction. I spoke with Alfredo Vítolo, a lawyer, previous legal advisor to the Argentine government, and professor of constitutional law and human rights and the University of Buenos Aires, at the Universidad Católica Argentina, and at the Universidad de Belgrano. He was kind enough to answer our questions.
Jonathon Van Maren: What does the election of Javier Milei mean for the pro-life movement?
Alfredo Vítolo: I believe the election of Javier Milei as president of Argentina brings great hope to those who support the pro-life movement. He has made several public declarations that he believes that what a woman carries in her womb is a person who deserves the full protection of the laws. His liberalism is based on the idea that a person’s liberty does not allow to affect others. His vice president, Victoria Villaruel, is also a strong defender of the rights of the unborn child. Several pro-life representatives and senators have also been elected and they may shift the balance in Congress.
The newly appointed minister of health, although he has made no public statements as regards the abortion issue, has performed as secretary of health of the most pro-life municipalities in the greater Buenos Aires area. Notwithstanding, it is difficult to believe that radical changes will be adopted in the short term, since I believe the new government, who needs to get support from different parties to push forward its general economic policies, will be unwilling to open a discussion which will be extremely controversial. More likely, we will see strong actions aimed at discouraging abortions rather that a blanket change of the law.