Crowds of Argentines both opposed and in favor of the legalization of abortion swelled the South American nation’s Congress as the country’s Senate took up debate on Wednesday (August 8) on a bill that would legalize abortion in the country as protesters gathered outside.
The proposal, which would expand abortion rights beyond current laws that allow the procedure only in cases of rape or when the mother’s health is at risk, passed the lower house last month by 129 votes to 125.
Since then religious activists, particularly in rural parts of the country, have pushed back against the measure, which is backed by feminists and rights groups galvanized in recent years by efforts to stop violence against women.
The large crowds of supporters and opponents of the bill gathered outside, chanting, singing, praying and waving signs and banners.
The bill would make Argentina the third country in Latin American to broadly legalize abortion, after Uruguay and Cuba.
The bill, which would allow abortion through the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, may be amended by the Senate and sent back to the lower house.
The measure is supported by advocates who want an end to the unregulated abortions that, according to government data, are the country’s leading cause of maternal mortality. — Reuters