Argentina Abortion Bill: Country Braces for Historic Vote to Legalize Abortion

Anti-abortion activists carry a

BUENOS AIRES-Argentina's Senate on Thursday rejected a bill to legalize elective abortions, an issue that sharply divided the nation while raising the prospect that it could prompt other Latin American countries to ease their strict antiabortion laws.

According to an official tally, 38 senators voted against, 31 in favor, while two abstained.

Many women in Argentina use misoprostol to end first-trimester pregnancies.

Prior to the vote, Argentine President Mauricio Macri said he would sign the bill if it passed, despite personally disagreeing with abortion.

Abortion has always been illegal in Argentina: Currently, if a woman is found to have undergone the procedure (in instances other than rape or if the mother's life is in danger), she can be jailed for up to four years.

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Argentina's lawmakers on Wednesday night rejected a bill that would have legalized abortion in the country. "The human-rights group says that over the past 30 years, complications from risky abortions have accounted for a third of the maternal deaths in Argentina".

Supporters of the bill argued it would save lives, and the run-up to the vote sparked months of passionate debate and protest in the Catholic country. We will continue to stand with women in Argentina. "We have to go to the causes of abortion and not abortion as a solution".

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There are at least 350,000 illegal abortions in Argentina every year, the Ministry of Health estimates, though global human rights groups say the number may be higher.

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.

Hundreds of physicians have staged anti-abortion protests, in one case laying their white medical coats on the ground outside the presidential palace.

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

Jose Miguel Vivanco, director for the Americas at Human Rights Watch, said that Argentina had a "historic opportunity" to protect the rights of women.

IWHC focuses its work in the UN, training global abortion activists in the art of lobbying and preparing activists from a number of nations, including Argentina.

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 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.

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