Argentina Rejects Bill to Ease Abortion Law

Evarado Alatorre
Agosto 9, 2018

The vote capped months of heated debate in the largely Catholic country and a massive rally the night of the vote which saw close to a million pro-abortion rights supporters gather outside the legislature according to the Buenos Aires daily La Nación.

After more than 15 hours of debate, a total of 38 senators voted against the abortion bill while 31 voted in favor, in spite of pressures from a wealthy abortion cabal with powerful backing from the mainstream media.

Argentina's Senate has rejected a bill to legalize elective abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Now abortion is allowed in Argentina only in cases of rape, or if the mother's health is in danger. "We have to go to the causes of abortion and not abortion as a solution". The bill's Thursday rejection, activists tell CNN, represents a "huge step backward" for the country.

Despite false warnings to the contrary, no woman or medical professional is in prison for practicing abortion in Argentina, despite its illegal status. We will continue to stand with women in Argentina. "Caring for life is the first human right and the duty of the State".

Some resort to using a clothes hanger wire or knitting needle to break the amniotic sac inside the womb, others take toxic mixtures or herbs that can prove fatal. Feminists and other groups led even larger demonstrations in support of the measure, often wearing green that symbolizes the pro-abortion movement, or red cloaks and white bonnets like the characters from the novel-turned-TV series "The Handmaid's Tale".

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Jose Miguel Vivanco, director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch, said that Argentina had a "historic opportunity" to protect the rights of women.

The vote followed a referendum in Ireland, another traditionally Catholic country, in May that paved the way to legislate for the termination of fetuses. A few supporters of abortion rights threw missiles and rocks at police, who retaliated by firing tear gas and water cannon.

Tensions ran high during the legislative debate - which lasted well into the morning - with some members of the lower chamber being barred from the Argentine Senate and the vice president hurling insults at a senator.

In Brazil, the Supreme Court is set to consider whether current law - which allows terminating pregnancies only in cases of rape, fetal deformation or when the mother's life is in danger - is unconstitutional.

Small groups rallied in other countries across the region to voice support for the Argentine abortion measure, including in Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.

"We need to make an effort to resolve this", she said.

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