Argentine Senate grants final approval to abortion bill - GulfToday

Argentine Senate grants final approval to abortion bill


Argentina's Vice-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (left) is pictured during the session in Buenos Aires. AFP

Gulf Today Report

Argentine lawmakers voted on Wednesday to legalise abortion, becoming one of only a handful of South American nations to do so, after hours of debate in the Senate.

President Alberto Fernandez approved by Argentina’s House of Deputies earlier this month proposed the bill. Now he is expected to sign it.


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"I'm Catholic but I have to legislate for everyone. Every year around 38,000 women are taken to hospital due to (clandestine) abortions and since the restoration of democracy (in 1983) more than 3,000 have died," said Fernandez.

"The interruption of a pregnancy is a tragedy. It abruptly ends another developing life," said Ines Blas, a senator from the ruling coalition.

Demonstrators in favour of legalising abortion look on as the senate debates an abortion bill, in Buenos Aires. Reuters

Hundreds of thousands of illegal abortions are carried out every year in the nation of 44 million, and pro-choice campaigners have long-urged authorities to put an end to dangerous backstreet terminations by legalising the process.

"It becomes law," said Senate president Cristina Kirchner, after more than twelve hours of debate.

Thousands of pro-choice activists cheered in the streets of the capital after the bill was approved 38 to 29, with one abstention.

Elective abortion is legal in Guyana, Uruguay, Cuba and parts of Mexico.

It legalises voluntary abortions at any stage up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Demonstrators attend an anti-abortion rally as senators debate an abortion bill in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Reuters

Ahead of the vote, pro-choice and anti-abortion demonstrators had gathered outside parliament despite coronavirus fears.

“This fight was born in the streets," Silvia Saravia, a pro-choice activist, told AFP.

The vote overturns a similar one in 2018 which, although also passed the lower house, ultimately foundered in the Senate by 38 votes to 31.

South America has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. In Argentina, terminations were allowed in only two instances: rape, and danger to the mother's life.

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