Protests against the United States Supreme Court’s decision to stay Roe v. Wade, who guaranteed the right to abortion, has had a special guest, who is known to Latin American feminists: the green scarf .
The region has experienced a “ green tide ”, which has included the decriminalization or legalization of pregnancy termination in several countries, such as Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. The scarf has been in each of these fights.
Now, American protesters have adopted this Latin American symbol as part of their protests. Where did this garment come from and how did it become the representation of the fight for abortion and the right of women to decide about their bodies? We tell it next.
Origin of the green scarf
The green scarf emerged in Argentina. It was used for the first time at the 18th National Meeting of Women, held in Rosario – a city some 300 kilometers north of the capital, Bueno Aires – in 2003. Abortion was for the first time one of the central issues on the agenda of the meeting, which has been held annually since 1986 in different Argentine cities.
Marta Alanis, director of the Argentine section of the Catholic organization for the right to decide, explained to the French newspaper that she suggested using the green scarves as a symbol of the meeting.
Alanis, 73, said that this garment is a reference to the white scarves worn by the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, the women’s organization that has fought since 1977 to find their children and grandchildren who disappeared during the military dictatorship that the South American country lived between 1976 and 1983.
What does it mean?
The use of this scarf is a gesture of defiance to the anti-abortion movement, also called “pro-life”, which adopted a light blue scarf as its counter-protests.
The green scarf gained prominence in the pro-abortion protests in Argentina during the discussion of a bill to legalize abortion in this Latin American country in 2018. The law was rejected by the Senate. According to it was even adopted by the movement Ni una menos, against gender violence.
Two years later, in 2020, the government of leftist Alberto Fernández presented an initiative to legalize abortion, one of his campaign promises. The law for the interruption of pregnancy was finally approved on December 30, 2020.
In addition to Argentina, the green scarf has appeared in feminist protests in Mexico, where the Supreme Court of Justice approved the decriminalization of abortion in 2021; Colombia, where the Constitutional Court approved the legalization of the interruption of pregnancy until the 24th week —although the government of the right-wing Iván Duque is still fighting to reverse this decision—, or in Chile, where the right to abortion was included in the draft of the new Constitution.
Other feminist movements in Latin America —such as those in Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala and El Salvador— have also used green scarves in their proposals. In these countries, pregnancy is still illegal for most reasons, including rape and incest.
After the approval of a law in Texas that restricts abortion until the sixth week of gestation in September 2021, protests in favor of the interruption of pregnancy multiplied in the United States and the scarf appeared on the neck and wrists of women. American protesters.
“It’s a great honor, personally and collectively, that green is now being embraced in America,” Alanis said. “Before, the United States came to Latin America to bring us dictatorships, military bases and poverty. Today, the Latin American green wave arrives in the United States to contribute to the liberation of women”.
Giselle Carino, executive director of Fòs Feminista, an international women’s health organization, said in a statement published on Oct. 15, 2021, that the movement that started in Argentina helped win abortion rights around the world.
“As an Argentine woman, I will never forget what it was like to march through the streets of Buenos Aires with thousands of women and girls wearing green scarves, fighting for our human right to safe and legal abortion,” Carino said.
Why is the color green related to abortion?
Alanis explains that the scarf was decided to be green because this color symbolizes “hope, health, life”. However, in several South American countries, the color green is not used by any political party as part of its graphic identity.
“The color green has been decided for a while, since 2005, and this decision was made prior to the 6th Latin American Feminist Meeting and, in part, it was decided to take the color green because it does not represent any political tendency,” explained Gema Ortega, a Chilean feminist. , in an interview with in 2018.
“In this case, we do believe that it is important to join the victory of the Argentine colleagues, but also understanding that the color green goes far beyond their case,” he added.