Argentina's Senate rejects proposed bill to legalize abortion
09 August, 2018, 22:59 | Author: Sheila Harris
Senators in Argentina are debating whether or not to legalize the abortion in all cases up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Lawmakers debated for more than 15 hours and voted Thursday - 31 in favor to 38 against.
Police were deployed in large numbers around the National Congress in Buenos Aires, working to curb any disturbance as the debate went on.
Argentina, the homeland of Pope Francis and home to some 30 million Catholics, allows abortions only in cases of rape or danger to the mother's health.
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In mid-June, Argentina's lower house voted in favour of the bill by just 129 to 125, thanks in part to the anti-abortion President Mauricio Macri's insistence on pushing the bill through the legislature.
"It was a bill against life from its conception, against women, said one anti-abortion woman, "that's why we are celebrating today".
The vote was welcomed by fireworks and shouts of joy among anti-abortion activists gathered outside of Congress. "Caring for life is the first human right and the duty of the state".
Activists estimate that 3,000 women in Argentina have died of illegal abortions since 1983. Moreover, efforts to present abortion as a health emergency, calling clandestine abortions the primary cause of maternal death in the country, statistics show that this claim is simply false.
For many of them, the methods used to induce an abortion include using an IV tube with a sharp wire clothes hanger or a knitting needle to try to break the amniotic sac inside womb.
For months, hundreds of doctors in Argentina had staged anti-abortion protests, in one case laying their white medical coats on the ground outside the presidential palace.
The proposal can not be brought up for debate until next year, but Argentina's Senate is set to discuss abortion again late this month when it considers reforms to the country's penal code, reported La Nación.
Jose Miguel Vivanco, director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch, said Argentina had a "historic opportunity" to protect the rights of women.
A partition was set up to keep the green-decked pro-abortion contingent separated from the anti-abortion activists who donned baby blue. Amnesty International has toldArgentine legislators that "the world is watching". There are three exceptions: if a woman is raped, pregnancy puts her life in danger, or the fetus is brain-dead.
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