‘A Huge Step Backward’: Argentina’s Senate Rejects Bill to Legalize Abortion

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Argentine senators rejected a bill to legalize abortion after an impassioned debate ran into the early hours of Thursday, pushing back against a groundswell of support from a surging abortion rights movement.

The rejected bill would have legalized abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy for all women.

That dealt a hammer blow to the Catholic Church, which is as revered in Ireland as it is in Argentina.

The vote dashed the hopes of women's rights groups after the bill was approved by the legislature's lower house in June.

An activist in favour of the legalisation of abortion reacts outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires.

Argentina is a predominantly Catholic country and is also the homeland of Pope Francis.

Hundreds of thousands of women demonstrated in the streets during Argentina's winter to put pressure on President Mauricio Macri to bring the issue to a vote.

Despite false warnings to the contrary, no woman or medical professional is in prison for practicing abortion in Argentina, despite its illegal status.

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

But the Supreme Federal Tribunal recently held an extraordinary session to hear arguments on whether to allow elective abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

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.

Worldwide human rights and women's groups have been closely following the vote, and figures such as USA actress Susan Sarandon and "The Handmaid's Tale" author Margaret Atwood supported the pro-abortion cause in Argentina.

Demonstrations in support of the Argentine abortion bill were also held in countries such as Bolivia and Mexico. Amnesty International told Argentine legislators that "the world is watching". "Children should be accepted as they come, as God sends them, as God allows, even if at times they are sick", he said.

"Just because the bill got shot down, it will not stop the movement", she said. Moreover, efforts to present abortion as a health emergency, calling clandestine abortions the primary cause of maternal death in the country, statistics show that this claim is simply false.

When the result was told to the demonstrators - who were separated by police and riot fences - the pro-life camp set off fireworks in celebration, and the pro-choice side threw rocks and lit fires in protest. Chile had been the last country in South America to ban abortion in all cases, though several nations in Central America still have absolute prohibitions.

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