Argentina's Senate approves historic bill to legalize abortion

Buenos Aires, Argentina Argentina’s Senate approved a bill to legalize abortion Wednesday in an historic vote seen as a major victory for abortion rights advocates in the Catholic-majority country.

The Senate voted 38-29 to give millions of women access to legal terminations under a new law supported by President Alberto Fernández.
Crowds of pro- and anti-abortion activists gathered outside the Palace of the Argentine National Congress to await the results, which came in the early hours of the morning after an overnight debate.
The proposed law will legalize abortion in all cases up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion in Argentina, South America’s third-most populous country, is currently only permitted when a pregnancy results from rape or endangers the life or health of the woman. In all other circumstances, abortion is illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
    Abortion advocates hope Argentina’s decision will spur similar movements in Latin America’s other Catholic-majority states.
    Abortion-rights activists, izquierda, and activists against abortion, derecho, rally outside Argentina's Congress in the capitol of Buenos Aires as lawmakers debated a bill that would legalize abortion on Tuesday.

    Tamara Taraciuk Broner, the acting deputy director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Americas Division, said before the vote that if the law passed, it wouldsend a very strong message to the region that it is possible to move forward with legalization of abortioneven in a Catholic country like Argentina.
    Argentina’s restrictions on abortion are replicated across South America.
    Across Latin America and the Caribbean region, only Cuba, Uruguay, French Guiana and Guyana allow for elective abortions, de acuerdo a the Center for Reproductive Rights. In Mexico City and the Mexican state of Oaxaca, abortions are also available on request, but are severely restricted throughout the rest of Mexico.
    By contrast, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua and Suriname ban abortions in nearly all circumstances. Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama allow for abortion only if it’s to preserve the woman’s health or help save her life.
    Lawmakers debate the bill in this photograph from Tuesday.

    Divisive campaign

    Abortion has long been a divisive issue in Argentina and the vote galvanized activists on both sides of the debate.
    Abortion rights advocates wore green handkerchiefs in a movement that became known as the green wave. Anti-abortion activists dressed in bluethe color of thesave both lives” movimiento, and that of the national flag.
    This isn’t the first time the issue has gone to the Senate.
    En 2018, during the conservative administration of former President Mauricio Macri, a previous attempt to legalize abortion in Argentina passed the lower house, but was narrowly defeated in the Senate.
    Catholic priests hold a mass during an anti-abortion protest as lawmakers debated its legalization, outside Congress in Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

    En meses recientes, the abortion rights movement received a huge boost from the support of President Fernández, who came to power last December.
    In a recorded address shortly before his inauguration, Fernández pledged toput an end to the criminalization of abortion.
    Wearing a green tiea symbol of the abortion rights movementFernández said that criminalizing the procedure unfairly punishesvulnerable and poor women,” adding that they were thethe greatest victimsof Argentina’s legal system.
    The criminalization of abortion has been of no use,” él dijo, noting that ithas only allowed abortions to occur clandestinely in troubling numbers.
    Fernández said that more than 3,000 people had died from illegal abortions since 1983. No official figures are available for how many illegal abortions take place in Argentina, but the National Health Ministry estimates that between 371,965 y 522,000 procedures are performed annually.
    De acuerdo a a report from HRW, por poco 40,000 women and children in Argentina were hospitalized in 2016 as a result of unsafe, clandestine abortions or miscarriages.
    Citing National Health Ministry data, the HRW report found that 39,025 women and girls were admitted to public hospitals for health issues arising from abortions or miscarriages, y más 6,000 were aged between 10 y 19.
    Experts say the new law will allow 13- to 16-year-olds with normal pregnancies to access abortion services without a guardian. Doctors will have the option toconscientiously objectto performing abortions, sin embargo, the laws states they will have to find another doctor to do so.
    The bill also uses inclusive language that acknowledges that not all people who become pregnant identify as women.
    Camila Fernandez, a self-identifying transgender woman, who was instrumental in the push for the bill’s language that readspeople with ability to be pregnant,” told CNN that the youth and the LGBTQ community were instrumental in challenging anadult centrist and patriarchal power that has perpetuated privileges and injustices.

    ‘Troubling numbers

    The abortion debate has created tension in a country with deep Catholic ties.
    Argentina, the birthplace of Pope Francis, has seen a gradual rise in agnosticism in recent years, although 92% of Argentinians still identify as Roman Catholic, according to the CIA.
    Argentina’s constitution cements government support for the Catholic Church and recognizes Roman Catholicism as the official religion. sin embargo, a 1994 amendment removed the requirement that the president must be Catholic.
    En noviembre, Pope weighed into the debate, encouraging the anti-abortion group Mujeres de las Villas tomove forwardwith their work.
    In a handwritten letter addressed to congresswoman and group intermediary Victoria Morales Gorleri, Francis saidthe problem of abortion is not primarily a question of religion, but of human ethics, first and foremost of any religious denomination.
      Is it fair to eliminate a human life to solve a problem? Is it fair to hire a hit man to solve a problem?” el escribio.
      En sábado, the Church of Argentina called on the Senate to vote against the bill, with Bishop Oscar Ojea, president of the local bishopsconference and an outspoken opponent of abortion saying that a vote against the bill was supported bymedical science and law,” Reuters informó.

      los comentarios están cerrados.