Argentina lawmakers strike down bill to open abortion law

Argentina senators struck down a bill Thursday that would have eased the country’s strict anti-abortion law, leading to both cries and celebrations outside.

Activists who supported legislation to expand Argentina's abortion law show their disappointment late Wednesday after lawmakers narrowly defeated the bill. Photo by David Fernandez/EPA-EFE
Activists who supported legislation to expand Argentina’s abortion law show their disappointment late Wednesday after lawmakers narrowly defeated the bill. Photo by David Fernandez/EPA-EFE

Under Argentine law, abortion is only allowed if a woman has been raped or her health is in danger. The bill would have expanded that to allow any woman to choose abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The lawmakers defeated the bill as demonstrators gathered outside.

After senators voted 38-31 against the bill, some abortions rights activists cried, started fires and threw objects at police. Those opposed to the practice, meanwhile, rejoiced.

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“We’re convinced this isn’t the right path,” lawmaker Inés Brizuela, who opposed the bill, said after the vote. “We can’t implement as a public health policy a practice that everyone agrees is not good. It is harmful because it ends the life of another being.”

“Women have never had their rights given to them,” said Sen. María Magdalena Odarda, who supported the bill. “The fight will continue.”

If the law had been approved, Argentina, a country of 44 million, would have been the most populous nation in Latin America to ease its strict anti-abortion law.

BySommer Brokaw