Argentina, home country of Pope Francis, has legalized abortion, making it the largest nation in Latin America to do so.
In a contentious, 12-hour Senate session, legislators debated the bill and eventually voted early this morning to pass the measure, 38-29, with one abstention.
“The interruption of a pregnancy is a tragedy. It abruptly ends another developing life,” said Inés Blas, a senator who voted against the bill.
Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández, has promised to sign the bill into law, making it legal for women to end pregnancies for any reason up to 14 weeks.
Following the Senate vote, thousands of Argentinians took to the streets in celebration, and in mourning. Pro-life advocates distinguished themselves by wearing light blue, the same color as the nation’s flag. In contrast, abortion supporters donned green clothing and accessories.
Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, posted a video of abortion demonstrators cheering outside Argentina’s Congress building in the country’s capital city of Buenos Aires.
“Heartbreaking and evil,” she commented. “… Crowds of abortion activists cheer in the street. These are children, sons and daughters, whose deaths are being celebrated. Lord have mercy.”
Abortion has long been a divisive issue in the largely Catholic country. And in 2018, Argentine lawmakers voted down a similar abortion bill. But in recent months, the abortion rights movement has received a huge boost from the support of Fernández, who took office last December.
In a public address shortly before his inauguration, Fernández pledged to “put an end to the criminalization of abortion.”
In response to the passage of the bill this morning, LifeNews posted to social media: “Argentina should be working to eliminate its massive poverty, not eliminate children in abortions.”
According to researchers from The Catholic University of Argentina and data from Indec, the government’s official statistics agency, nearly half of Argentina’s population lives in poverty.
Above: Abortion activists celebrate outside the Congress building in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Photo: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko