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Argentina: Senate defeats bill to introduce elective abortion

9 August 2018


Pro-lifers gathered in front of Congress, awaiting the result.

Argentina's Senate has rejected a bill which would have legalised abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The debate lasted more than 16 hours, and the bill was ultimately defeated by a vote of 38 to 31. This decision had the support of the Senate’s only medical doctor (Mario Fiad) and social worker (Ines Blas), reports La Nacion.

Abortion remains permitted in Argentina only in cases of rape, or if the mother's health is in danger.

Pro-life activists have been jubilant. "It's joy to see that our society can be based on such an important principle as the defence of the most defenceless, the child," said one.

Abortion supporters say they are not giving up. Some started fires and lobbed missiles at police after the vote, reports the BBC.


Demonstrators from both campaigns gathered in the square in front of Congress. (Credit: AP)

A knife-edge vote, a heated campaign

The bill had previously been discussed by Argentina’s Lower House; the decision to allow the bill to carry on to the Senate was approved by a vote of 129 to 125.

In the run-up to the vote, abortion activists were shown by social media users to be performing several “tasteless” stunts to draw attention to their campaign, including “desecrating a monument to the heroes of the Falklands War”, posing with green bandanas (the colour of the pro-abortion campaign) in front of a neonatal unit, and defacing places of worship.

The evening of the Senate decision culminated with jubilant celebrations by the sky-blue clad pro-life supporters, and anger from the bill’s supporters.


Dr Anthony McCarthy (SPUC) comments on the Argentinian Senate's decision. As Dr McCarthy speaks, scenes of jubilation by pro-lifers are played, along with scenes of rioters wearing green, being hosed by a water cannon.

Meanwhile, Catholic pro-life supporters had organised a “Mass for Life” in the Cathedral, located in the central Plaza de Mayo, on the day of the vote.

Abortion Equals Social Failure

Speaking outside parliament, pro-life supporter Maria Castillo is quoted, “Abortion always kills a child and it doesn't solve the woman's problem… There are always other solutions.”

"The message that we wanted to put across is that abortion equals social failure. For a woman to resort to it, many other things need to have failed first,” says Camila Duro of Frente Joven. 

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