The far-right party led by Javier Milei intends to take back significant social rights achieved in Argentina if it comes to power. The most recent on the list is a mother’s right to receive child support from the father. Parents must cover the expenses of a child’s need — such as food, education, health, housing and clothing, among others — until they reach the age of majority. But Lilia Lemoine, a lawmaker candidate for Milei’s Libertad Avanza (Freedom Advances) party, says that, if elected, she will put forward a law that offers fathers the option to renounce their parental rights and the obligation to pay child support. The proposal has been unanimously criticized by Argentina’s other political parties.
“It doesn’t seem fair to me that a man has to take financial responsibility for a child until they are 18 when he didn’t want to have them,” Lemoine said in a radio interview on Tuesday. The bill that she plans to present gives women two weeks to notify the father that they are pregnant : “The woman, when she finds out that she is pregnant, has 15 days to notify the father and the father can decide if he is going to be responsible for the child or not.”
Lemoine — who was Milei’s makeup artist before being placed on the electoral list — defended the initiative by resorting to an urban legend. She said that some women poke holes in condoms before having sex in order to get pregnant and “reel a guy in.”
She also had no qualms about describing women who have abortions as murderers, even though abortion has been legal in Argentina since 2020. “Since women have the privilege of killing their children and giving up being mothers, why do men by law have to keep a child because the woman perhaps told them: ‘Yes, yes, come [ejaculate] inside, I’m on the pill’ or she punctures the condom,“ Lemoine argued.
“Many women do these things to reel a guy in and take advantage of him when he’s in the heat of the moment, my grandmother told me about it,” added Lemoine, who is a social media influencer and cosplay figure. When asked about cases where men don’t use protection, Lemoine said that this qualified as rape. “If the man is not using protection and the woman realizes, then it is rape. She files a complaint and takes the morning after pill.”
Lemoine’s comments have been met with a torrent of criticism, both from political parties and from organizations that defend women’s rights.
The government described the bill announced by Lemoine as “nonsense” and recalled that parents have a legal obligation “to care for and support their underage children.”
Former governor of Buenos Aires province, María Eugenia Vidal, from the opposition alliance Juntos por Cambio (Together for Change), pointed out that Milei’s party also supported the sale of organs and the free use of weapons, arguing that the latest measure was further proof that they represented “backwards freedom.”
Nathalia González, a former deputy from the Socialist Workers’ Party, added: “The only freedom these people defend is to deepen the oppression of women.”
Argentina’s official statistics agency (Indec) publishes a parenting cost guide that establishes the monthly cost of goods, services and care for each child. According to the latest report, that cost is around 100,000 pesos (almost $100) per month.
Around 1.6 million women in Argentina are the sole providers for three million children, Ayelén Mazzina, the Minister of Women, Gender and Diversity, said in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “Half of these boys and girls do not receive child support from their fathers,” Mazzina warned. In the province of Buenos Aires, for which Lemoine is a candidate, the percentage of child support debtors is close to 70%.
Argentina’s feminist women took to the streets last month to protest against Milei and his policies. In the lead up to the presidential elections, which will take place on Sunday, leading figures have called on the public to make sure Milei does not get into to power. The hard right presidential candidate denies there is a gender wage gap — which according to official data is 27.7% — and says that if elected he will repeal the law legalizing abortion and the law that makes it mandatory for schools to provide comprehensive sex education — two measures that have changed the lives of women in Argentina.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition