Abortion Legalization Vote Slapped Down In Argentina As Protests Erupt

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People set a fire outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires on August 9, 2018, after senators rejected the bill to legalize abortion. (Photo credit: EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Aug. 10, 2018: Protests erupted in Argentina, the homeland of Pope Francis, after the Senate there rejected legalizing abortion.

Argentina’s senate, after a marathon 16 hours of debate, defeated the bill which would have legalized abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Thirty-eight senators voted against it while 31 voted in favor. Its defeat means lawmakers must wait until next year to resubmit legislation.

Among the women in the Argentine Senate the vote was evenly split while a majority of men voted against it.

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Currently abortion is allowed in Argentina only in cases of rape, or if the mother’s health is in danger. Argentina is overwhelmingly Catholic and conservative. Many people, even those who are not religious, reject abortion on moral grounds.

Some pro-choice campaigners started fires and lobbed missiles at police in Buenos Aires after the vote.

Demonstrators on both sides of the debate had rallied outside parliament as voting took place.

“The fight is far from over! We will continue to stand with women in Argentina. #VaASerLey,” Amnesty International tweeted.

In Argentina: 300K+ illegal abortions take place each year; unsafe abortions cause 30 percent of maternal deaths and contraception access is limited by cost and misinformation.