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Argentina's Lower House Passes Bill Legalizing Abortion

Fri 11 Dec 2020 | 08:15 PM
Ahmed Moamar

Currently, many women who have an abortion, as well as people who assist them with the procedure, can face prosecution in Argentina. It's not clear if the bill will pass the Senate.

Demonstrators are celebrating today with green headscarves - the symbol of pro-abortion activists - outside the Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina after legislators passed a bill to legalize abortion.

Lawmakers in Argentina’s lower house on Friday passed a bill that would legalize abortion in most cases, a proposal from President Alberto Fernández in response to long-sought demands from women’s rights activists.

The bill, which needs approval from the country’s Senate, the higher chamber of the legislative body,  in a debate expected before the end of the year, allows for voluntary abortions to be carried out up to the 14th week of pregnancy.

The proposed law was approved in a 131-117 vote with six abstentions after a marathon debate that extended from Thursday into the early hours of Friday morning.

Demonstrators in favor of decriminalizing abortion, who had spent the night outside the congress building in Buenos Aires, erupted with joy and embraced each other as they listened to the parliamentary speaker reading the vote’s results on screens.

Many of them wore face masks in the green color that has become a symbol for their movement.

Hundreds of meters (yards) away, not far from the parliament building, hundreds of opponents dressed in light blue and carrying the national flag deplored the result, with some shedding tears.

Latin America has some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws.

Mexico City, Cuba, and Uruguay are among the few places in the region where women can undergo abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy regardless of the circumstances.

Although the bill was passed by the lower house, the outlook is less clear in the country’s Senate.

Two years ago, during the administration of more conservative President Mauricio Macri, the upper house voted against a similar bill to legalize abortion after it was narrowly approved by the lower house.