Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Argentina lawmakers strike down bill to open abortion law

Argentina lawmakers strike down bill to open abortion law

We will continue to stand with women in Argentina.

The bill would have allowed abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Currently, abortion is illegal in Argentina except in instances of rape, serious health risks to the mother, or if the mother is mentally disabled, according to the Washington Post.

Initial reports had suggested that 39 senators were going to vote against the bill, but later in the day, teleSUR's correspondent said the latest count suggested 38 will probably reject the bill legalizing abortion.

Groups supporting legalized abortion also threatened to burn churches prior to the vote.

But the bill faces stiff opposition. 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.

Argentina senators struck down a bill Thursday that would have eased the country's strict anti-abortion law, leading to both cries and celebrations outside.

Church leaders held a "Mass for Life" the night before the vote. while many advocates for and against the bill filled the streets, awaiting the results of the vote outside the capitol building.

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"Today I feel like never before that I'm part of a wide sector of our people who defend life in general, from the moment of conception and until death", she said. "They don't have the support of the majority of the country". George Soros has also been a major player in the financing of pro-abortion lobbyists through his Open Society foundations.

Activists estimate that 3,000 women in Argentina have died of illegal abortions since 1983.

On Sunday, women dressed in red cloaks and white bonnets like those worn in "The Handmaid's Tale" - Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel in which women are forced into child-bearing servitude - rallied in support of the bill in the capital's Remembrance Park, holding green headscarves, a symbol of the abortion rights movement.

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

What's next? The bill may be amended by the Senate and sent back to the lower house, but lawmakers must wait a year to resubmit the legislation.

The move to legalize abortion in Argentina is a "public health and human rights imperative", said New York-based Human Rights Watch. "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.

Women's rights advocates, however, hope that a more liberal judiciary in Brazil will at least decriminalize abortion to help avoid deaths from botched terminations in a country where hundreds of thousands of women resort to clandestine clinics each year. "Sooner rather than later, women will have the decision they need, sooner rather than later we will win this debate", he said in his closing speech. "They arrived terrified, knowing that they could go to jail".

In the Senate it is widely expected to fall short of the votes needed to pass, with 37 of the 72 senators said to be ready to say no despite a massive social campaign to have it adopted.

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