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Thu Aug 9, 2018, 02:21 AM

Argentine Senate rejects bill legalizing abortion

The Argentine Senate rejected a bill that would have legalized abortion on demand up to the 14th week.

The bill, passed by the Lower House on June 14, was rejected by 38 votes to 31 with three abstentions after a marathon session that concluded at 2:30 am local time.

All but 8 of the 25 senators belonging to President Mauricio Macri's right-wing "Let's Change" alliance voted against the reform.

Supporters vowed to bring up the bill again next year or after the 2019 elections, which polls - and the worst recession in 16 years - suggest could bring in a new administration and a somewhat more progressive Congress.

The legislation had sparked heated debate in the largely Catholic nation of 44 million. No abortion rights bill had ever passed either house of Congress, despite seven previous efforts since 1983.

Over 300,000 abortions are performed annually in Argentina despite current law, which since 1921 allows for the procedure only in cases of rape, incest, or to save the mother's life.

Up to 50,000 Argentine women are hospitalized annually for complications, of which 43 died in 2016. In Latin America only Cuba and Uruguay guarantee abortion rights.

"It's a shame we couldn't find consenus, since this problem will still be with us," former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a leading proponent, said in closing remarks an hour before the vote.

"I'm 65, and have two grand-daughters. By the time they're in high school, this will be the law - have no doubt," she told opponents.

"When their high school classmates ask them about me, I don't want to be remembered as someone who didn't understand."

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.infonews.com%2Fnota%2F317583%2Fel-senado-rechazo-el-proyecto-de-legalizacion&edit-text=

Demonstrators for (left) and against a bill legalizing abortion on demand up to the 14th week gather in front of Argentina's Congress last night.

The bill was defeated by 38 to 31; but supporters have vowed to bring it up for a vote again next year or in 2020, when Macri's right-wing alliance is expected to no longer be in power.

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