Argentina’s congress which is the lower house has approved the legalisation of abortion today Friday 11th December 2020.
The lower house has sent the proposal to the Senate.
It should be noted that the Senate has rejected a similar bill two years ago.
However, the legislation, which would allow abortion until the 14th week of pregnancy got 131 votes in favour and 117 against with six abstentions.
This was reported by the secretary of the Chamber of Deputies after a 20-hour session.
It is of value to know that in Argentina, abortion is allowed only in the event of rape or danger to the mother’s life. This is under legislation dating back to 1921.
Meanwhile, the Centre-left President Alberto Fernandez has presented the proposal earlier this year.
This was done as a way to “guarantee that all women have access to the right to comprehensive health”.
This Friday’s approval was received with an outburst of joy by thousands of young people in green scarves and mufflers.
These activists had spent the night outside the congress building in Buenos Aires. The scarves have become an emblem of the campaign for legal abortions.
However, Protesters in blue scarves, who oppose the change, were separated from the others by a fence. And they welcomed the result with disappointment.
It should be noted that the issue of legalising abortions dominated the Argentine political agenda in 2018.
2018 was when the bill made it to congress amid huge demonstrations.
The demonstration was mostly in the majority-Catholic country which is the birthplace of Pope Francis.
Back then, it also received the approval of the Chamber of Deputies. But was rejected in the Senate. Both houses welcomed new members in the 2019 general elections.
“I am a Catholic but I have to legislate for everyone,” President Fernandez declared on Thursday. “It is a very serious public health issue.”
“Abortion is legal in first-world countries and other developed countries that are very religious, such as Italy, Spain and Ireland,” said Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia.
“Now we are moving forward in Argentina. If this were a masculine problem it would have been resolved a long time ago,” said the minister.
Nevertheless, Health analysts estimate that between 370,000 and 520,000 clandestine abortions are performed annually in Argentina, according to government statistics.
However, these back-alley procedures have led to some 3,000 deaths since 1983, according to Argentina leader.
“The debate is not about whether or not to allow abortions. It is about whether or not to allow safe abortions,” said Ana Carolina Gaillard, a lawmaker with the ruling party.
Outside the congress building, women in green scarves were celebrating.
“We believe that women have a right to decide what to do with their bodies,” Melisa Ramos, 21, told AFP before the vote.
“Lawmakers who vote against legalization should know that on their hands will be the blood of the women who die in clandestine abortions.”
Across the fence, protesters who oppose abortion chanted “Save both lives!”.
They held up baby dolls smeared with red colour to look bloody.
Now if the bill passes the Senate, Argentina would join Cuba, Uruguay and Guyana as countries allowing abortion in Latin America.
Other countries like Mexico city also legalized abortion.
Source: Bangkok Post