September 5, 2012 ( – As the Uruguayan Chamber of Deputies prepares to vote on the depenalization of abortion, ultra-popular ex-president Tabaré Vázquez has a message for legislators: read my veto—again.

Vázquez, who served as president of Uruguay from 2005 to 2008, vetoed a similar measure to depenalize abortion supported by a majority of his own party in the nation’s parliament, in 2008.

He has told the country’s Chamber of Deputies that he will not testify at upcoming hearings on the bill, because he has already made his position clear on the matter in his previous veto message.


My position, he told the body, is “known nationally and internationally” and “is consecrated and integrated with the veto imposed by the Executive Power on the 14th of November, 2008.”

“My position has not changed, so I regard my presence as unnecessary,” Vázquez added.

In the original veto message, Vázquez notes, “the legislation cannot ignore the reality of the existence of a human life in gestation, something that has clearly been revealed by science.”

Although he has been out of office for almost four years, Vázquez is the country’s most popular politician, with an approval rating of 63% according to a recent poll.

Vázquez’s successor in the presidency, José Mujica, a former pro-Castro guerrilla who spent years in prison after taking up arms against the government in the 1960s and 70s, has stated his support for the abortion legislation, which is also endorsed by a majority of representatives from the ruling Broad Front coalition, according to the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

A simple abortion depenalization bill was approved ( by the Senate earlier this year, but the version under condition ( by the Chamber of Deputies would require a committee of doctors, psychologists, and other experts to approve an abortion after examining particular cases. A five-day waiting period has also been proposed.

The opposing National Party has announced that it will support the initiative of Deputy Pablo Abdala to hold a public referendum on the legislation, which may be the only hope of pro-lifers in the face of what appears to be the impending passage of the legislation.


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