Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Celebrations and anger as Argentine Senate rejects abortion bill

Argentina Abortion Bill: Country Braces for Historic Vote to Legalize Abortion Legal abortion bill rejected in Argentina
Patty Aguilar | 09 August, 2018, 17:09

After hours of debate, the Senate voted 38 to 31 against allowing legal abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. Abortion is now allowed in cases of rape, or when the mother's health is at risk.

Pro-life and pro-choice campaigners had gathered outside parliament to hear the result.

"We are happy because it is a celebration of democracy, the triumph of both lives", said Ayelen Caffarena, echoing the campaign's slogan, "save both lives", a reference to the mother as well as the unborn child.

For some pro-choice supporters, the anger turned to violence and they lit fires and threw missiles at police, and they say they won't give up their fight.

Argentina is an overwhelmingly Catholic country.

But the city's archbishop, Cardinal Mario Poli, appeared to speak for many when he told churchgoers: "It's not about religious beliefs but about a humanitarian reason".

"There are positive points that have come out of this, first of all, that even when there are differing ways of thinking, there's a square in peace right now, with thousands of people defending their convictions", said Buenos Aires provincial Gov. Maria Eugenia Vidal, who was against the measure.

Activists estimate that 3,000 women in Argentina have died of illegal abortions since 1983. "It doesn't reduce abortions - it just makes them unsafe", said Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty in an interview with the progressive UK Guardian last April.

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Some resort to using a clothes hanger wire or knitting needle to break the amniotic sac inside the womb, others take toxic mixtures or herbs that can prove fatal.

Activists in favour of the legalization of abortion comfort each other outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires after senators rejected the bill to legalize abortion.

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

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.

"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.

"We do as the Nazis did to safeguard the purity of the race, but we do it with 'white gloves, '" he said.

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