BILL LEGALIZING ABORTION PASSED IN POPE’S ARGENTINA
Argentina became the largest nation in Latin America to legalize elective abortion, a triumph for a feminist movement that overcame a last-minute appeal by Pope Francis to his compatriots and could pave the way for similar actions across the socially conservative, heavily Roman Catholic region.
After a marathon 12-hour session, the country’s Senate passed the law after midnight by a comfortable 38-29 margin just two years after a similar initiative fell short in a cliffhanger vote, Almudena Calatrava and Debora Rey reported for the Associated Press (AP).
The legislation, which President Alberto Fernández has vowed to sign into law in the coming days, guarantees abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy and beyond that in cases of rape or when a woman’s health is at risk.
“Safe, legal and free abortion is now the law,” Fernández tweeted after the vote, noting that it had been an election pledge. “Today, we are a better society that expands women’s rights and guarantees public health,” he added.
While abortion is already allowed in some other parts of Latin America — such as in Uruguay, Cuba and Mexico City — its legalization in Argentina is expected to reverberate across the region, where dangerous clandestine procedures remain the norm a half century after a woman’s right to choose was guaranteed in the US. In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s party led a chorus of mostly leftist politicians across the region that celebrated the decision.
“We congratulate Argentina’s lawmakers for listening in an exemplary way to the clamor of the people and their attention to the popular will,” the executive committee of the National Regeneration Movement said in a statement on social media.”