The bill that would have expanded abortion rights was rejected by Argentina’s Senate in the early hours of Thursday morning. The vote, which would have legalized elective abortion, was rejected 38 to 31 including two abstentions and one absentee.
The predominantly Catholic country outlaws abortion and only allows the procedure under current laws in cases of rape or risk to maternal health. But the issue of abortion continues to divide Argentine society.
As senators deliberated into the early hours of Thursday morning, pro-abortion rights activists dressed in green held rallies outside the building, while the Catholic Church “held a ‘Mass for Life’ in the capital Buenos Aires,” CNN reported.
After the bill “narrowly passed through the lower house of Congress in June,” many pro-abortion rights activists were hopeful the bill would pass through the Senate and onto the desk of President Mauricio Macri, who is opposed to abortion, but said he wouldn’t veto the legislation if passed. But with a relatively conservative Senate and an opposition senator reneging her support, the hope among supporters sizzled out.
“Today no one won,” one women, who posts under the name Veronnica Diaz, said. “The abortions WILL KEEP HAPPENING, the women will continue to die in clandestine abortions and your Neanderthal position of ‘saving two lives’ in a comfortable social inequality will continue without saving ANY LIFE.”
The “green wave” or pro-abortion rights activism has spread throughout Latin America. According to the World Health Organization, much of the continent outright outlaws abortion.
Pro-abortion rights demonstrations have formed in Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico and Peru.
“It will happen because that’s the world – to increase rights and this is one of the fundamental rights that is still not available to women in Latin America,” Celia Szusterman, trustee of the U.K. board of Pro-Mujer and director of the Latin America program at the Institute for Statecraft, said.
While she considers the rejected bill by Argentina’s Senate “a step backward for women’s rights and women’s health, ” Szusterman is confident that the support for pro-abortion rights legislation won’t fade away and activists will continue to push for the passing of such a bill to happen one day soon.