How Argentina Is Becoming More Evangelical—But Less Religious

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The nation just became the largest country in Latin America to legalize abortion.

Last week, Argentina became the first Latin America country to legalize abortion. The Senate approved the bill two years after it rejected a similar effort two years ago. The bill allows women to legally end pregnancies for any reason up to 14 weeks. After that, it makes exceptions for rape and the health of the women. It also makes abortions free in public hospitals.

Also home of the first Latin American pope, Argentina’s Catholic population has declined in recent years according to a study from the National Scientific and Technical Research Council. In 2019, around 63 percent of the population identified as Catholic, a 13 percent point drop since 2008. The two growing religious groups: evangelicals, who now make up 15 percent of the population, and the nones, or those who don’t identify with any faith, who are now at 19 percent.

This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the religious future of Argentina, the type of influence the church has on the region at large, and the events that have led to the dramatic decline of the Catholic Church.

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Music by Sweeps

Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder

The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola

Highlights from Quick to Listen: Episode 246

What makes Argentina very similar to other Latin American countries and what makes it very unique from the others?

Josue Fernandez: Well, with the similarities, there’s the language and history—almost all Latin American countries have Hispanic traditions. Most of our countries were conquered by Spain, and then most of them had to fight for freedom. So …

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