Argentina’s Senate will vote on a proposal to legalise abortion, an issue that has divided the population and drawn international attention to the South American country. Source: Yahoo7 News.
The Senate session was scheduled to start last night. The lower house narrowly approved the bill in June, but the Senate is likely to reject it based on counts from the nation’s largest newspapers.
President Mauricio Macri said he won’t pressure his party members to vote in any particular way and won’t veto the bill.
Mr Macri surprised both those in favour and against abortion when he announced in March that he was putting the issue up for discussion. The debate has drawn international attention, with actress and activist Susan Sarandon lending her support to the legalisation of the procedure and Amnesty International buying a full-page advertisement in The New York Times this week backing the proposal.
While abortion is illegal in Argentina, hundreds of thousands of women are believed to get the procedure at local clinics each year, according to human rights groups. Due to lack of regulation and oversight, complications and health issues are common for them. Few nations in Latin America, where the Church has a strong influence, have completely legalised abortion. Uruguay is an exception.
Meanwhile, CNN reports that while Pope Francis has not addressed the legislation directly, he did speak out strongly against abortion just days after the bill was approved by the lower house – comparing abortion to avoid birth defects to Nazi eugenics. The Pontiff also issued a letter in March, as the abortion debate began, urging Argentines to “make a contribution in defence of life and justice.”
Since the Pope’s comments, abortion opponents have pushed back against the bill, with thousands rallying in rural areas of the country and in the streets of Buenos Aires, wearing blue bandanas emblazoned with the slogan “Save both lives.”
The Church was due to hold a ‘Mass for Life’ in the capital as Senators debated the bill.