Argentina’s upper house this week narrowly rejected a bill that would have legalised abortion up to 14 weeks. The 38 to 31 vote means that the country will retain its tight restrictions on abortion. Currently, abortion is only permitted in cases of rape, when the mother is mentally disabled or if there is serious risk to her health.
An estimated two million protesters gathered outside of of Congress in Buenos Aires as politicians debated the proposal on Wednesday and Thursday, and groups of protesters clashed with police following the announcement of the result.
The country’s president Mauricio Mauri voted against the bill, but he allowed his party a conscience vote on the matter and said that he would sign the motion into law should it pass the senate.
Analysts attribute the failure of the bill primarily to opposition from senators from conservative northern provinces. Senator Mario Fiad from the northwestern Jujuy province described abortion a “tragedy”, warning, “the right to life is about to become the weakest of rights”. The Catholic Church and smaller evangelical churches also strongly opposed the bill.
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