Argentina: Senators reject bill to legalise abortion

An aerial view of a protest against abortion legalization organized by the Christian Alliance of Evangelical Churches in Argentina

Pro-choice activists gather around a bonfire to keep warm as celebratory fireworks go off in the distance from a gathering of pro-life activists, as they all wait outside Congress for lawmakers to vote on an abortion bill in Buenos Aires, Argentina, early Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018.

After more than 15 hours of debate, a total of 38 senators voted against the abortion bill while 31 voted in favor, in spite of pressures from a wealthy abortion cabal with powerful backing from the mainstream media. But she said legalization advocates will still campaign in her country, which is one of the few in the world to ban abortion under all circumstances.

The issue has divided the homeland of Pope Francis.

Indeed, conservative President Mauricio Macri, who had promised to sign the legislation if it passed Congress even though he opposes abortion, said after the Senate's vote that the debate will continue.

Paula Avila-Guillen, a director of Women's Equality Center, an abortion rights advocacy group, tells Reuters that the bill's supporters are prepared to regroup.

In addition to legalizing the procedure within 14 weeks of conception, the bill would have allowed girls 13 years of age and older to get an abortion. The Health Ministry estimated in 2016 that the country sees as many as half a million clandestine abortions each year, with dozens of women dying as a result. Uruguay and Cuba are the only Latin American countries with laws that broadly allow abortion, while Brazil's Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether to decriminalize abortion in that country.

US -based organizations such as Live Action, Human Defense Initiative and the National Right to Life Committee expressed their opposition to the bill as well.

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An abortion-rights activist reacts outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires, on Thursday to news that the Senate voted to reject a bill that would have legalized abortion. "We're deciding abortion in a hospital, or illegal abortion, with a clothes hanger, or anything else that puts a woman in a humiliating, degrading situation - a real torture", she said.

"Children are to be received as they come, as God sends them", he said.

"We need to make an effort to resolve this", she said.

The world was watching and Argentina's senators failed. 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.

For months, hundreds of doctors in Argentina had staged anti-abortion protests while feminists and other groups led even larger demonstrations in support of the measure, often wearing green that symbolizes the pro-abortion movement, or red cloaks and white bonnets like the characters from the novel-turned-TV series "The Handmaid's Tale".

It is also legal in Mexico City.

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