Argentine Senate approves bill legalizing abortion after marathon 12-hour session

The vote means that abortion will be legalized in Pope Francis’ homeland up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and also will be legal after that time in cases of rape or danger to the mother’s life.
Abortion-rights activists react after lawmakers approved a bill that legalizes abortion, outside Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina.(AP)
Abortion-rights activists react after lawmakers approved a bill that legalizes abortion, outside Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina.(AP)
Published on Dec 30, 2020 02:11 PM IST
Copy Link
Buenos Aires | ByAssociated Press | Posted by Kunal Gaurav

Argentina’s Senate passed a law legalizing abortion early Wednesday after a marathon 12-hour session, a victory for the women’s movement that has been fighting for the right for decades.

The vote means that abortion will be legalized in Pope Francis’ homeland up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and also will be legal after that time in cases of rape or danger to the mother’s life. It will have repercussions across a continent where the procedure is largely illegal.

The measure was passed with 38 votes in favor, 29 against and one abstention, after a session that began late Tuesday.

It was already approved by Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies and has the support of President Alberto Fernández, meaning the Senate vote was its final hurdle.

Argentina will be the largest Latin American country to legalize abortion and the vote was being closely watched. With the exceptions of Uruguay, Cuba, Mexico City, Mexico’s Oaxaca state, the Antilles and French Guiana, abortion remains largely illegal across the region.

Argentina until now has penalized women and those who help them abort. The only exceptions were cases involving rape or a risk to the health of the mother, and activists complain even these exceptions are not respected in some provinces.

Just hours before the Senate session began Tuesday, the pope weighed in, tweeting: “The Son of God was born an outcast, in order to tell us that every outcast is a child of God. He came into the world as each child comes into the world, weak and vulnerable, so that we can learn to accept our weaknesses with tender love.”

A previous abortion bill was voted down by Argentine lawmakers in 2018, but this time it was backed by the center-left government. The outcome of the latest vote, however, had still been considered uncertain. That was partly due to the fact that the political parties, including the governing Peronist movement, gave their legislators freedom to vote as they chose. Two of the 72 senators were absent, and 43 of the remaining 70 senators were men.

Outside the Senate, pro- and anti-abortion activists gathered, with the bill’s supporters wearing the color green that represents their pro-abortion movement.

Argentina’s feminist movement has been demanding legal abortion for more than 30 years and activists say the bill’s approval could mark a watershed in Latin America, where the Roman Catholic Church’s influence has long dominated.

“Our country is a country of many contradictions,” said Ester Albarello, a psychiatrist with a network of health professionals that supports the bill, who was among the demonstrators outside the congressional building. “It is the only one in the world that brought members of its genocidal military dictatorship to justice with all the guarantees. But we still don’t have legal abortion. Why? Because the church is together with the state.”

Also outside the legislature, a group that calls its members “defenders of the two lives” set up an altar with a crucifix under a blue tent. Dressed in a white smock and light-blue face mask, teacher Adriana Broni said that even if the abortion law won approval, “I will not teach that it is a right to kill, murder, a baby who has no voice.”

Supporters said the bill seeks to eradicate the clandestine abortions that have caused more than 3,000 deaths in the country since 1983, according to figures from authorities.

In addition to allowing abortion within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, the legislation also will establish that even after that period, a pregnancy can be legally terminated if it was the result of rape or if the person’s life or integral health was in danger.

It will allow conscientious refusal to participate in an abortion for health professionals and private medical institutions at which all doctors are against the procedure. But they will be required to refer the woman to another medical center. Conscientious objection also could not be claimed if a pregnant woman’s life or health was in danger.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • US actor Tom Cruise poses upon arrival for the UK premiere of the film "Top Gun: Maverick" in London, on May 19, 2022. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

    Tom Cruise's 'Top Gun: Maverick' jet rides (on F/A-18) paid US Navy this much

    Tom Cruise and his 'Top Gun: Maverick' co-stars cost Paramount Pictures a tidy sum of money in filming for the new movie, Bloomberg said Thursday, explaining the US Navy was paid $11,374 per hour for the actors to 'train' in advanced F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets. Cruise, 59, had also flown in a jet for the original 'Top Gun', a smash hit in 1986.

  • In the heartwarming poem, the soldier asks his daughters not to write to him about the war or tell of a "scary missile strike".

    This poem by a Ukrainian soldier for his daughters is all the rage

    A poem written by a Ukrainian soldier, who is fighting the Russian invasion, has been translated into about 10 languages in just one week, Ukraine's Ministry of foreign affairs said on Thursday. The poem was written by the soldier as an answer to his daughters' letters, it added. The English translation of the poem was shared by the Ministry on its Twitter handle.

  • Solomon Island's Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele (left) and Chief Protocole Walter Diamana (right) escorting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (centre) upon his arrival at the Henderson International Airport in Honiara. (AFP)

    China’s foreign minister starts Pacific tour in the Solomons

    Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Thursday arrived in the Solomon Islands at the start of an eight-nation tour amid concerns about Beijing's rapidly expanding military and economic ambitions in the in the South Pacific region. Wang, who is also state councillor,will also visit Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea, as well as Timor-Leste.

  • A man walks past a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea's launch of three missiles, in Seoul. 

    Hwasong-17 ICBM, hypersonic missiles in North Korea's arsenal: Details here 

    In its firing, North Korea on Wednesday launched three missiles, including its largest intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hwasong-17, prompting the United States to call for a vote on Thursday on a UN resolution that would impose tougher sanctions against it. The launch of multiple types of missiles came amid the country's first confirmed Covid-19 outbreak, which UN agencies said might bring a devastating crisis for its 25 million people.

  • Unauthorised weekly vegetable markets have once again resumed in the Pune corporation limits after the easing of Covid curbs. (HT FILE PHOTO)

    War in Ukraine may trigger global recession, says World Bank chief: Report

    Russia's war on Ukraine could trigger a global recession because of the impact on food, energy and fertiliser prices, with developing nations among the worst affected World Bank president David Malpass said Wednesday. He said that while Ukraine and Russia were expected to see significant contractions, Europe, and the United States were seeing slower growth. On China he said the relatively sharp slowdown was due to the pandemic, inflation and a pre-existing real estate crisis.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, May 26, 2022