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Argentina: Senators reject bill to legalise abortion
09 August 2018, 10:58 | Erica Roy
The bill is expected to fall short of the necessary votes to pass into law
"What this vote showed is that Argentina is still a country that represents family values", anti-abortion activist Victoria Osuna toldReuters.
Worldwide reproductive rights advocates joined Argentinian women in mourning the bill's defeat, but credited the country's pro-choice movement with building momentum toward securing abortion rights in Argentina as well as across Latin America, where only Uruguay, Cuba, Guyana, and Mexico City allow abortion in early pregnancy.
The Senate rejected the proposed bill 38 to 31, with two abstentions.
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. Current laws allow the procedure only in cases of rape, or when the mother's health is at risk.
Supporters of the bill held protests for months under the banner of Ni Una Menos, a coalition of women's rights groups.
While abortion-rights campaigners seemed to have a chance of success a few weeks ago, leaders of the Catholic Church spoke out against abortion, leading to senators from conservative provinces to vote against it, reported The New York Times.
Soon after, anti-abortion president Mauricio Macritold lawmakers this year that they could reconsider the matter. The two sides figured prominently on social media, where they used the hashtags #AbortoLegalYa and #SalvemosLasDosVidas. "The human-rights group says that over the past 30 years, complications from risky abortions have accounted for a third of the maternal deaths in Argentina".
In March, Francis sent a letter to the Argentine people urging them to "contribute to the defense of life and justice" as the abortion debate intensified.
IWHC focuses its work in the UN, training worldwide abortion activists in the art of lobbying and preparing activists from a number of nations, including Argentina.
The question reached the Argentine Senate for the first time in history after the Chamber of Deputies, the lower legislative house, approved the measure in June. Feminist groups, in turn, have held demonstrations in support of the measure, often wearing green that symbolizes their movement or costumes based on author Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale".
"Enforce childbirth if you wish, Argentina, but at least call that enforcing by what it is". "Caring for life is the first human right and the duty of the State".
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.
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