ARGENTINA: After hours of debate in the Senate, Argentina became the largest nation in Latin America to have finally legalized abortion. The verdict came after 12 hours of dramatic debate. The Senate debate was closely followed by masses of both opponents and supporters of abortion rights.
The supporters camped out in the plaza around the neo-Classical Palace of Congress. The people were seen chanting, cheering, and praying while waiting for the decision. The high-stakes vote in the Senate gripped the entire nation on Wednesday. The abortion bill was passed with a wider-than-expected margin of 38-29, with one abstention.
Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández has promised to sign the bill into law. The law will now allow women to terminate pregnancies for any reason for up to 14 weeks. Argentina had previously permitted abortion in cases of rape or during complicated pregnancies.
“Legalizing abortion in Argentina is a gigantic victory that protects fundamental rights and will inspire change in Latin America,” said Tamara Taraciuk Broner, the Americas deputy director for Human Rights Watch. “It’s predictable, however, that this will also mobilize pro-life groups.”
The historic win is likely to ripple across entire Latin America. This verdict is a ray of hope for reproductive-rights advocates who have been fighting hard for abortion rights. Uruguay, Cuba, and Guyana are the only other countries in Latin America to allow abortion on request. Other Latin American countries still have stricter limits or total prohibitions.
Argentina’s legalization of abortion was a striking rebuke of Pope Francis who got involved in the bitter political debate in his homeland when he praised a women’s group for its activism against abortion.