Argentina's Senate rejects proposed bill to legalize abortion

Argentina's Senate rejects proposed bill to legalize abortion

Argentina's Senate rejects proposed bill to legalize abortion

Argentina's Senate narrowly rejected a bill legalizing abortion on Thursday.

According to an official tally, 38 senators voted against the measure to legalise the termination of a foetus during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, 31 were in favour, while two abstained.

Currently, abortion is allowed in Argentina in only three cases, similar to most of Latin America: rape, a threat to the mother's life or if the fetus is disabled. A vote could come Wednesday or early Thursday.

Many women, a lot of them poor, have risky and degrading abortions every year - and activists estimate 3,000 have died since 1983.

In 2016, the organization sent 32 activists from Argentina and other nations to participate in the 60th UN Commission on the Status of Women.

For many of them, the methods used to induce an abortion include using an IV tube with a sharp wire clothes hanger or a knitting needle to try to break the amniotic sac inside womb. By rejecting legal abortion they missed a historic chance to be leaders on human rights.

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Speaking to a delegation of the Forum of Family Associations at the Vatican, Francis denounced today's abortion culture and urged his hearers to accept human life as it comes from the hand of God.

For months, hundreds of doctors in Argentina had staged anti-abortion protests, in one case laying their white medical coats on the ground outside the presidential palace.

Margaret Atwood, author of "The Handmaid's Tale", also brought worldwide attention to the debate with an op-ed likening the country's anti-abortion laws to slavery.

Celia Szusterman, trustee of the United Kingdom board of Pro-Mujer and director of the Latin America programme at the Institute for Statecraft, told CNN that the vote was "a step backward for women's rights and women's health".

Catholic and evangelical groups protested abortion with the slogan, "Argentina, filicide (child murder) will be your ruin".

Abortion rights supporters wore green scarves while anti-abortion activists donned baby blue.

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In Brazil, which is home to the world's largest population of Catholics and fast-growing evangelical faiths, abortion carries a punishment of up to three years in prison.

In Brazil, the Supreme Court is set to consider whether current law - which allows terminating pregnancies only in cases of rape, fetal deformation or when the mother's life is in danger - is unconstitutional.

In 2016, DCleaks.com released documents from Open Society Foundations (OSF) revealing Soros funding of the abortion front group International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) through his Women's Rights Program (WRP), which has been working in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Argentine protesters dressed as handmaids from the book during rallies.

"It's a shame that we were not able to reach a consensus because the problem will continue to exist exactly as it did before we began this debate", said former President Cristina Fernandez, who is an opposition senator.

His sentiments were shared by 21-year-old Camila Sforza, who said she remained hopeful despite the setback.

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