BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, August 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Senate of Argentina voted Wednesday to approve the finalized text of a bill that would legalize abortion nationwide, with a final vote slated for August 8.
The bill would legalize abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, as well as late-term abortions in cases of fetal deformity or to protect mothers’ “psychological” health. If successful, the legislation would erase Argentina’s constitutional protection for preborn babies except in cases of rape or threats to a mother’s life.
Despite the vote, observers still expect the August 8 vote, which will decide the proposal’s ultimate fate, to be close. The country’s chamber of deputies narrowly approved the legislation in June, and Argentinian President Mauricio Macri has said he will not veto the bill (despite claiming to be pro-life), in deference to the will of the legislature.
Legalizing abortion would be a sea change for the predominantly Catholic nation, which faces intense international pressure from groups like Amnesty International and the World Bank to erase its protections for the preborn.
Pro-abortion activists claim Argentina’s abortion laws fail to significantly restrict abortions, instead abandoning women to fatal complications and other life-altering dangers of illegal abortions. Americans United for Life (AUL) addressed the arguments in a 2012 report on the state of abortion in Latin America.
Citing statistics from Argentina’s National Ministry of Health, AUL found that illegal abortions represent a small percentage of maternal deaths (74 of 306 in 2007). It also quoted the World Health Organization as acknowledging that “hospital structure” was the “most important variable” to determining maternal deaths.
The legislation has sparked intense protests from both sides, with pro-abortion protestors donning green scarves and brandishing brooms, and pro-lifers displaying models of preborn babies.
Pro-life doctors have been a particularly passionate highlight of the demonstrations, with some waving signs declaring “I'm a doctor, not a murderer,” and others laid white medical coats outside of the presidential palace as part of a recent protest.
To “destroy a human embryo means impeding the birth of a human being,” the country’s Academy of Medicine declared in a statement opposing the bill. “Nothing good can come when society chooses death as a solution.” The Argentina Medical Society, on the other hand, supports legalization.
Yahoo News reported that the current language “provides for conscientious objection for practitioners” and not “hospitals,” but others remain wary. “Doctors can’t work under the threat of prison time,” said gynecology head Maria de los Angeles Carmona of Eva Peron Hospital.
“How far are we willing to go to? Jail,” Austral University Hospital obstetrics head Ernesto Beruti declared. “Even if the law is passed, I’m not going to eliminate the life of a human being. The most important right is the right to live.”