Legal abortion enters into force in Argentina, decriminalization under debate in Chile

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Buenos Aires | Legal abortion officially enters into force Thursday in Argentina with the promulgation of the law approved on December 30 by the Parliament, when neighboring Chile is debating a decriminalization of abortion.

Argentina, a country of 45 million inhabitants, will thus become the largest country in Latin America to allow unconditional abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Until then, voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion) was only allowed in Cuba, Uruguay, Guyana, Mexico City and the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

The official promulgation by center-left president Alberto Fernandez, the originator of the bill, will take place Thursday afternoon at a ceremony at the Bicentennial Museum in Buenos Aires.

The text, on a subject that deeply divides Argentine public opinion, was voted on December 30 by senators with 38 votes for, 29 against and one abstention, two years after the failure of a first attempt.

Until now, abortion was only allowed in Argentina in cases of rape or danger to the life of the mother, under a law dating from 1921.

Each year, according to the government, between 370,000 and 520,000 clandestine abortions are performed in Argentina and 38,000 women hospitalized for complications during clandestine abortions.

However, the new law offers doctors the possibility of making their “conscientious objection”.

At the same time in Chile, parliamentarians began on Wednesday to debate a bill tabled in 2018 by the left-wing opposition to decriminalize abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy and thus prevent women choosing to have an abortion. to be threatened with a prison sentence.

Until 2017, Chile was one of the few countries not authorizing abortion under any conditions under a law passed under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990).

In 2017, under the pressure of feminist movements, a text had finally been voted allowing abortion in case of danger to the life of the mother, the child or of rape.

But according to associations, these abortions represent only 3% of the thousands of illegal abortions that take place each year in this country of 18 million inhabitants.

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