In a historic move Argentina’s congress have legalised abortion up to the fourteenth week of a pregnancy. Until now, abortions were only permitted in cases of rape or when the mother’s health was at risk.
In all other circumstances, abortion is still illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in jail.
Senators voted in favour of the bill after a marathon session with 38 in favour, 29 against and one abstention. Activists have campaigned for a change in the law for years. The passing came two years after senators narrowly voted against legalising abortion.
Alongside the legalisation of abortion, Senators also voted in favour of a bill known as the “1,000-Day Plan”, which will provide better healthcare for pregnant women and mothers of young children.
After the vote, President Fernández tweeted: “Today, we’re a better society, which widens women’s rights and guarantees public health.”
President Fernández said providing free and legal abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy was a matter of public health as “every year around 38,000 women” are taken to hospital due to abortion attempts at home.
The president had made reintroducing it one of his campaign promises. “I’m Catholic but I have to legislate for everyone.”
The progression can also be linked to Argentina’s mighty “green wave” women’s movement that has been at the forefront of this change. There are hopes that neighbouring countries like Chile and Brazil will follow in the same footsteps.
Sources: BBC, CNN