Argentina Senate rejects bill to legalize abortion

Argentina Senate rejects bill to legalize abortion

The bill had sought to legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and would have seen Argentina join Uruguay and Cuba as the only countries in Latin America to fully decriminalize abortion.

Global human rights and women's groups were following the vote, and figures such as US actress Susan Sarandon supported the pro-abortion rights cause in Argentina. Abortion is now legal only if the pregnancy is the result of sexual assault or if the mother's life is in danger.

Celia Szusterman, trustee of the United Kingdom board of Pro-Mujer and director of the Latin America program at the Institute for Statecraft, told CNN that the result was "a step backward for women's rights and women's health". Chile had been the last country in South America to ban abortion in all cases, though several nations in Central America still have absolute prohibitions.

Last June, Pope Francis-who is Argentinian-compared the practice of abortion to Nazi eugenics and ethnic cleansing.

"We're not deciding abortion yes or now".

Ousset said while working at the hospital she realized there was another reality: abortions were being performed in private clinics with better conditions.

Paula Avila-Guillen, a director of Women's Equality Center, an abortion rights advocacy group, tells Reuters that the bill's supporters are prepared to regroup.

Hundreds of thousands of women demonstrated in the streets during Argentina's winter to put pressure on President Mauricio Macri to bring the issue to a vote.




"It will happen because that's the world - to increase rights and this is one of the fundamental rights that is still not available to women in Latin America", Szusterman said. Women found guilty of having illegal abortions can serve up to four years in prison, and medical professionals involved in such procedures can go to prison for up to six years.

Families and clergy in baby-blue bandanas gathered outside the congressional palace as the result came in just before 3 a.m., waving Argentine flags in support of the Catholic Church's anti-abortion stance in Pope Francis' home country.

Amnesty International collected more than 100,000 online signatures from around the globe urging Argentine senators to pass the bill.

On the other side of the plaza was 60-year-old Marta Vacara, who called the Senate's vote against the bill a blessing.

Chile past year became the last nation in South America to drop a ban on abortions in all cases, though several countries in Central America still have absolute prohibitions. Thousands of women, a lot of them poor, are hospitalized each year for complications linked due to unsafe abortions - the main cause of maternal death.

Meanwhile, at the city's Metropolitan Cathedral, a "mass for life" was held in support of keeping laws unchanged.

The legalization bill can not be debated again until 2019, although some advocates of removing abortion restrictions have suggested promoting a bill for decriminalization as an alternative, according to Crux.

The movement Ni Una Menos, or Not One Less, was launched in the country in recent years to fight violence against women.

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