The new bill protects women who carry out their own abortions from any sanctions. The new bill differs from last year’s with a new section focused on sexual education and counseling for women. It also sets prison terms of between three months and one year to health establishments or doctors who “unjustifiably delay,” block or refuse to carry out an elective abortion within the terms of the law, and longer prison terms if that action leads to damage to a woman’s health or causes her death.
Last year, conservative President Mauricio Macri had promised to sign the legislation if it passed Congress even though he opposes abortion. After it was rejected in the Senate, Macri said that the debate would continue.
Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. More recently, the Ni Una Menos, or Not One Less, movement created in Argentina to fight violence against women has spread worldwide.
Efforts to ease or tighten abortion restrictions have repeatedly emerged across Latin America and the Caribbean in recent years as socially conservative countries grapple with shifting views on once-taboo issues and the church continues to lose influence to secularism and a crisis of confidence after an avalanche of clerical sex abuse scandals.
Pope Francis last year denounced abortion as the “white glove” equivalent of Nazi-era eugenics programs and urged families “to accept the children that God gives them.”
The pope recently said that abortion can never be condoned, even when the fetus is seriously ill or likely to die. He also urged doctors and priests to support families to carry such pregnancies to term. “Is it licit to throw away a life to resolve a problem?” the pontiff asked. “Is it licit to hire a hit man to resolve a problem?”
His comments came as the abortion debate is rousing renewed debate in the U.S. with state initiatives seeking to restrict the procedure.
In 2017, Chile became the last country in South America to drop a ban on abortions in all cases, though some countries in Central America still prohibit abortions without exceptions.
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