Triumph of life: The Argentine Senate rejects new abortion bill

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Just before dawn, on the 9th of August, after a historical debate that lasted sixteen hours, the Argentine Senate rejected a bill that would have permitted abortion on demand.

38 deputies voted against the bill to legalise abortion and 31 voted in favour. Two of the seventy-two senators abstained and one person was absent.  

The new law would have permitted abortion up until the 14th week of pregnancy, and up until the ninth month, if the pregnancy was a result of rape or if the pregnancy put the mother’s life in danger.  This result brings to an end the abortion debate for this year as the Senate cannot discuss it again before January of 2019.

The ex-President, Cristina Fernandez joined in the debate.  She defended a woman’s right to have an abortion and tried to convince her colleagues about the benefits of the bill.

On the other side, Senator Silvia Elías de Perez spoke up in favour of life from the moment of conception saying that:  “there is no reason why anyone should decide about the life of someone else.” She added that the new abortion bill would cause  “discrimination between people who are ‘wanted’ and those who are ‘not wanted.’”

The Senator agreed that the State should support pregnant women. She noted that during the months of debate on the bill,  Christians were attacked more than ever in Argentina. She also said that Christian values had to be supported and went on to add: “The acceptance of the abortion law would show the weakness of the State. It would indicate that the State does not want to deal with prevention.”

During the final debate in  Congress, a large number of believers assembled in the Cathedral of Buenos Aires to participate in a “Mass for Life” officiated by Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli who is the local Archbishop and Primate of Argentina.

In his homily, the Cardinal said: “abortion always was and always will be a drama” but “it cannot be a solution.” Directing his comments to Senators, he said: “We trust you and your decisions. We hope you do everything for the community and you do your best to give the right to life to everybody, especially  the weakest and most vulnerable.”

The result of the vote in Congress caused a range of emotions among the Argentine people. Thousands gathered in front of the Congress building to hear the results. As the outcome of the vote became known, pro-life sympathisers celebrated their victory on the streets and on social media.  Fr. Leandro Bonnin posted a prayer of thanksgiving to the Blessed Sacrament on Facebook, giving thanks to God for intervening in favour of life.

The pro-abortion activists lit a fire in front of the Parliament to keep warm. When they learnt of the result, some threw wood and cartons into the fire in protest. The arrival of police ended the demonstration.

Amnesty International Argentina which is in favour of abortion, posted on their social media network that:  “the Senators lost an opportunity to fight for human rights” and announced that they would not stop fighting “until there is legal abortion in Argentina.”

Following the defeat of the bill on the 21st of August, the Executive Power will send a reform proposal of the penal code to the Senate. The penal code contains more than five hundred articles. Now, one of them will declare that having an abortion is a crime in Argentina.

Source: Aciprensa

Photo: Catholic News Agency

Translator: Ildikó Ungvári

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