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Argentina approves bill to legalize abortion

Argentina approves bill to legalize abortion

Argentina joined a rising group of nations where abortion is legal. Women in the Latin American country will now have the right to terminate pregnancy at up to 14 weeks, DW reported.

Argentina’s Senate has approved on Wednesday a bill on the legalization of abortion. The senators voted by 38 to 29 in favor of a new law that allows the medical procedure through to the 14th week of pregnancy. The initiative was spearheaded by President Alberto Fernandez.

The debate on abortion was heavily influenced by the Argentinian Catholic Church. To avoid legalization, the religious leaders have formed an alliance with the evangelicals in a bid to bury the bill. In the country where 62% of Argentinians identify themselves as Catholic, while over 15% declare themselves as evangelicals, that was a powerful coalition.

However, the Catholic Church couldn’t win the battle for greater reproductive rights for women, and the historical bill on abortion passed on Wednesday.

Under the previous law, abortions were only allowed in the case of rape or when pregnancy carries serious risks for the mother’s life.

Pope Francis comments on the abortion changes in Argentina

Pope Francis, who is Argentinian, preferred to stay mostly silent on the debate. The pontiff expressed his opinion just hours before the Senate discussion was set to start. His tweet could be interpreted as support to the anti-abortion side.

“The Son of God was born discarded to tell us that every person discarded is a child of God. He came into the world as a child does, weak and fragile, so that we can embrace our weaknesses with tenderness,” the head of the Catholic world wrote.

Over the decade, most countries in Latin America impose heavy restrictions on abortion. The Catholic Church is too influential in that part of the planet. So far, voluntary abortion is legal only in Cuba, Uruguay, Guyana, and some states of Mexico.