Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Argentina Rejects Bill to Ease Abortion Law

Argentina Rejects Bill to Ease Abortion Law

Despite the major influence of Catholicism on the nation, the people are passionately divided about abortion. Police officers responded with tear gas.

Soon after, anti-abortion president Mauricio Macri told lawmakers this year that they could reconsider the matter.

Argentine women can still obtain legal abortions, but only in limited cases, like rape or if the health of the mother is in jeopardy. Women who get abortions illegally can face up to four years in prison, while the doctors who provide them can be incarcerated for up to six years. But despite that, an estimated half a million women have illegal terminations every year. "Children should be accepted as they come, as God sends them, as God allows, even if at times they are sick", he said.

"There was talk of a green square and a light blue square". In June, however, he likened abortions meant to prevent birth defects to the Nazi eugenics program.

Activists estimate that 3,000 women in Argentina have died of illegal abortions since 1983.

"Let's recognize that we're facing a public health tragedy", said Magdalena Odarda, a senator for Rio Negro province.

"We're not deciding abortion yes or now".

But the Supreme Federal Tribunal recently held an extraordinary session to hear arguments on whether to allow elective abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The drug is only sold under prescription, but for the poorest women the cost of the drug is out of reach.

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 the womb. Others drink herbs, insert dubious non-abortive pills in the vagina, or pump toxic mixtures, which can cause ulcers, hemorrhage and ultimately severe infections, and death.

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

Soros also funds the pro-abortion Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has worked to pressure pro-life countries to legalize abortion.

Argentina's Amnesty International director Mariela Belski said the senate's decision would only "perpetuate the circle of violence which women, girls and others who can become pregnant are forced into".

Tensions ran high during the legislative debate - which lasted well into the morning - with some members of the lower chamber being barred from the Argentine Senate and the vice president hurling insults at a senator.

The streets of Buenos Aires transformed into a fire-filled riot after Argentina's Senate voted against the legalisation of abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The proposal can not be brought up for debate until next year, but Argentina's Senate is set to discuss abortion again late this month when it considers reforms to the country's penal code, reported La Nación.

Uruguay and Cuba are the only two countries in Latin America to have decriminalised abortion.

"It is not a question of beliefs, but of a problem that exists", Fernandez said.

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

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