Argentina's Senate rejects legalizing abortion, in Pope Francis' homeland

Leroy Wright
August 11, 2018

The proposed legislation would have allowed abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy for women and girls as young as 13.

Thousands of pro and anti-abortion protesters in rival colours gathered in heavy rain outside Congress in Buenos Aires as politicians debated the proposal for 15 hours.

Groups supporting legalized abortion also threatened to burn churches prior to the vote. But she said legalization advocates will still campaign in her country, which is one of the few in the world to ban abortion under all circumstances.

An activist in favour of the legalisation of abortion reacts outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires.

The Pope also reiterated the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion this year, urging families "to accept the children that God gives them".

In June, the lower house narrowly passed after a session lasting almost 24 hours while hundreds of thousands of women held a vigil outside. We will continue to stand with women in Argentina.

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Argentina's abortion rights movement, backed by feminist groups galvanized in recent years to stop violence against women, argued that the bill would end unregulated abortions that government data show as the leading cause of maternal deaths.

In 2016, DCleaks.com released documents from Open Society Foundations (OSF) revealing Soros funding of the abortion front group International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) through his Women's Rights Program (WRP), which has been working in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Uruguay and Cuba are the only Latin American countries with laws that broadly allow abortion, while Brazil's Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether to decriminalize abortion in that country.

President Mauricio Macri, who is against abortion, had already said he would sign the bill after the country's lower house chose to support it - but senators voted it down 38 to 31.

In Chile, the constitutional Court a year ago upheld legislation ending the Andean nation's absolute ban on abortions, permitting the procedure when a woman's life is in danger, when a fetus is not viable and in cases of rape. But in June, he said getting an abortion to avoid birth defects is similar to Nazi eugenics programmes.

One of them, Federico Berruete, a 35-year-old priest, joined anti-abortion demonstrators holding up slogans reading "Life starts at conception".

By rejecting legal abortion they missed a historic chance to be leaders on human rights. "It doesn't reduce abortions - it just makes them unsafe", said Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty in an interview with the progressive UK Guardian last April. 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.

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