Sources from left to right: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty, Ricardo Ceppi/Getty Images, Natacha Pisarenko/AP
On Thursday, December 11, Argentines took to the streets after the country’s Parliament passed an abortion bill in a 131 to 117 vote that allows for abortions up to 14 weeks after conception. The legislation will be debated in the Senate on December 29. Although President Alberto Fernández’s support gives hope to pro-choice proponents—the legalization of abortion was one of Fernández’s campaign promises last year—the vote is expected to be close enough that it could go either way. More than half of the 72 senators must vote in favor for the bill to become law.
In an effort to gather more votes, some legislators who favor the bill made last minute changes to allow private clinics to refuse to conduct abortions if there are no medics who are willing to perform it. Those clinics, however, would still be obligated to direct the patient to a facility that does perform abortions.
Pro-choice and pro-life proponents—wearing green and blue respectively to show their support—plan to continue large-scale demonstrations on December 29. At present, public policies restricting abortion are much more common across the vast majority of Latin American countries. If the new abortion legislation passes into law, Argentina will join just Cuba and Uruguay as among the few places in the region where women can undergo abortions during the first 12-14 weeks of pregnancy regardless of the circumstances.