Abortion activists vow to press fight despite Argentina loss

Argentina Abortion Bill: Country Braces for Historic Vote to Legalize Abortion

Legal abortion bill rejected in Argentina

Protesters have lit fires and thrown bottles at police after Argentina's senate rejected a bill to legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Thirty-eight senators voted against the legislation and 31 voted for it, with two members abstaining and one absent, after a debate that lasted for more than 16 hours.

Currently, women in the country are allowed to have an abortion only if the pregnancy is threatening the mother's life, or if it was conceived through rape.

Celia Szusterman, trustee of the United Kingdom board of Pro-Mujer and director of the Latin America programme at the Institute for Statecraft, told CNN that the vote was "a step backward for women's rights and women's health". Uruguay and Cuba are the only countries in the region to have fully decriminalized abortion.

But the contentious issue has divided Argentines, pitting conservative doctors and the Catholic Church against feminist groups and physicians.

In the Senate it is widely expected to fall short of the votes needed to pass, with 37 of the 72 senators said to be ready to say no despite a massive social campaign to have it adopted.

Anti-abortion activist Victoria Osuna told Reuters that the rejection of the Bill showed that "Argentina is still a country that represents family values".

The Catholic Church and other groups opposed it, saying it violated Argentine law, which guarantees life from the moment of conception.

The bill, which would have allowed abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy, had already been passed by the lower house of Congress earlier this year.

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Although abortion activists have tried to portray Argentina's pro-abortion movement as a "grass roots" uprising, in point of fact the crusade has been instigated in large part by an injection of foreign funds.

"The right to life is about to become the weakest of rights", said Fiad.

"It was the thousands of young women who went out to the streets who made me change my opinion", she told the Senate Wednesday.

In 2016, DCleaks.com released documents from Open Society Foundations (OSF) revealing Soros funding of the abortion front group International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) through his Women's Rights Program (WRP), which has been working in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

There are at least 350,000 illegal abortions in Argentina every year, the Ministry of Health estimates, though global human rights groups say the number may be higher, with dozens of women dying each year as a result.

But opponents of abortion are not lacking support and planning their own demonstrations under the banner: "Let's save both lives".

The move was also condemned by Amnesty International, which said Argentina had squandered an historic opportunity. The ad metaphorically says goodbye to unsafe methods that women use in order to get an abortion when one is not legally or financially available to them. On Tuesday, 60 Irish parliamentarians, across political parties and groups, signed a letter to the Argentinian senators urging a vote in favor of the bill.

It's also legal in Mexico City while only in the Central American trio of El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua does it remain totally banned.

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