techkenyot.com
techkenyot.com August 15, 2018


Argentina Rejects Bill to Ease Abortion Law

09 August 2018, 10:59 | Glen Norman

Anti-abortion activists carry a"Yes To Life banner during a protest in Buenos Aires

Anti-abortion activists carry a

Despite the outcome of the Thursday vote - which came shortly after Ireland passed a major referendum legalizing abortion - activists told CNN that they will continue to push the legislation with the hopes that it will one day pass.

Argentina now allows abortion only in cases of rape or risks to a woman's health and abortion rights activists say 3,000 women have died of illegal abortions since 1983. The proposal was the subject of mass protests and the Aborto Legal Ya campaign, with supporters carrying signs on Wednesday displaying coat hangers and the word "Adios"-a reference to risky methods that have been used by women to terminate unwanted pregnancies. It doesn't reduce abortions - it just makes them unsafe", said Amnesty International secretary general Salil Shetty in an interview with the progressive UK Guardian last April". Current laws allow the procedure only in cases of rape, or when the mother's health is at risk.

The issue has divided the homeland of Pope Francis. Thousands of women, majority poor, are hospitalized each year for complications linked due to unsafe abortions - the main cause of maternal death.

For months, hundreds of doctors in Argentina had staged anti-abortion protests, in one case laying their white medical coats on the ground outside the presidential palace. Feminist groups, in turn, have held demonstrations in support of the measure, often wearing green that symbolizes their movement or costumes based on author Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale". By rejecting legal abortion they missed a historic chance to be leaders on human rights.

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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".

A partition was set up to keep the green-decked pro-abortion contingent separated from the anti-abortion activists who donned baby blue.

Tensions ran high during the legislative debate - which lasted well into the morning - with some members of the lower chamber being barred from the Argentine Senate and the vice president hurling insults at a senator.

Women's movements across South America have been pushing against decades-old abortion prohibitions.

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With 31 votes in favour, 38 votes against and two abstentions the voluntary termination of pregnancy bill is rejected.

In Brazil, which is home to the world's largest population of Catholics and fast-growing evangelical faiths, abortion carries a punishment of up to three years in prison.

Uruguay and Cuba are the only Latin American countries that now have broadly legalized abortion.

In neighboring Chile, the Constitutional Court a year ago upheld a measure that would end that country's absolute ban on abortions, permitting abortions when a woman's life is in danger, when a fetus is not viable and in cases of rape.

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