Argentina Abortion Bill: Country Braces for Historic Vote to Legalize Abortion


Argentina's Senate rejected a bill that would have legalised elective abortion for pregnancies of up to 14 weeks.

There were even expectations that the conservative government might now move to decriminalize abortions following the wave of demonstrations by feminist groups that pushed the legislation before Congress.

Argentine senators voted against legalizing abortion in all cases on Thursday, just weeks after the bill was passed by the lower house of Congress in June by the narrowest of margins. "Caring for life is the first human right and the duty of the State".

Amnesty International had told Argentinian politicians that "the world is watching", and Human Rights Watch said the country had a "historic opportunity" to protect women's rights.

What's next? The bill may be amended by the Senate and sent back to the lower house, but lawmakers must wait a year to resubmit the legislation. Although that would not legalize the practice, it is seen as a compromise solution.

"Today no one won", wrote the women who posts under the name Veronnica Diaz. The drug is only sold under prescription, but for the poorest women the cost of the drug is out of reach. "After that the baby can be given up for adoption", Benitez said. We will continue to stand with women in Argentina. "Sooner rather than later, women will have the decision they need, sooner rather than later we will win this debate", he said in his closing speech. "It's the beginning of revolutions". Feminist groups, in turn, have held protests, often wearing green that symbolizes their movement or outfits based on author Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale".

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"The right to life is about to become the weakest of rights", said Fiad.

Pro-life advocates from the country's Catholic Church likely helped swing the vote in favor of life.

"We're talking about the right to live in dignity, with autonomy, to be able to choose freely", added the 67-year-old mother of three.

"This is obviously a setback", said Ima Guirola of the Women Studies Institute, a group in El Salvador.

Despite the strict abortion ban, hundreds of thousands of women in Argentina are still having abortions.

There are at least 350,000 illegal abortions in Argentina every year, the Ministry of Health estimates, though global human rights groups say the number may be higher, with dozens of women dying each year as a result.

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Cuba, Guyana, Puerto Rico and Uruguay permit early-term elective abortions, as does Mexico City. In 2010, HRW claimed that Argentina's abortion ban violated worldwide treaties, even though none of the cited treaties mention abortions.

Church leaders held a "Mass for Life" the night before the vote. while many advocates for and against the bill filled the streets, awaiting the results of the vote outside the capitol building.

Despite projections and strong opposition from the highly influential Catholic Church in the homeland of Pope Francis, campaigners are not giving up hope.

Argentine women can still obtain legal abortions, but only in limited cases, like rape or if the health of the mother is in jeopardy.

"The bill may not have been approved now, but it will be in the future", Talib said.

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