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Argentina just passed a historic bill to legalize abortion: 'We have been fighting for years'

The law, which includes "people with reproductive capacity," was passed in the early hours of Wednesday morning in a 38-29 vote.

Argentina just passed a historic bill to legalize abortion: 'We have been fighting for years'
Image Source: Argentine Senate Decides on Legalization of Abortion. BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - DECEMBER 30. (Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

The Argentina Senate passed legislation approved a bill to legalize abortion on Wednesday, marking a historic moment in the South American country, CNN reports. The milestone vote has been seen as a major win for abortion rights advocates, who have been championing the cause for several years. The Senate passed the bill with 38 votes for and 29 votes against; the margin was expected to be much larger. Now, millions of women in Argentina will have access to legal terminations under the new law, which has gained support from the country's President, Alberto Fernández. Both anti-abortion activists and pro-choice advocates gathered in the dozens outside the Palace of the Argentine National Congress to await the results.



The results of the vote were announced in the early hours of the morning following an overnight debate. Once the votes came in, supporters of the bill rejoiced, welcoming the news with loud cheers and, in some cases, even tears of joy. Gabriela Giacomelli, a woman present at the Palace, called the scene "very emotional." Two of her sisters have undergone abortions in the past. "We have been fighting for years," she shared. "I see young people now, though I hope they never have to abort, but if they do now they can do it safely."



The executive director of Amnesty International Argentina, Mariela Belski, also celebrated the news. She affirmed, "Today, Argentina has made an emblematic step forward in defending the rights of women, girls, and people with reproductive capacity." Evidently, this is a truly inclusive bill. It will legalize abortion in all cases up to 14 weeks of pregnancy and allow 13 to 16-year-olds with normal pregnancies to access abortion services without a parent or guardian present. This is a stark change from Argentina's earlier law; abortion was previously only permitted when a pregnancy results from instances of rape or if it endangers the life or health of the woman. In all other cases, abortion was illegal and punishable by up to 15 years in jail.



Camila Fernandez, a self-identifying transgender woman, was the primary reason behind the bill's inclusive language. She said that the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the youth, were instrumental in challenging an "adult centrist and patriarchal power that has perpetuated privileges and injustices." The move, she hopes, will pave the way for even more reforms in law to protect trans folks and other communities that have been historically marginalized. She said, "Hand in hand with trans men and non binary people we conquered the rights that today are theirs and ours."



Pro-choice advocates hope that the country's new bill will inspire similar changes across other nations in South America. "[The move] a strong message of hope to our entire continent, that we can change course against the criminalization of abortion and against clandestine abortions, which pose serious risks to the health and lives of millions of people," Belski stated. "Both the law passed by the Argentine Congress today and the enormous effort of the women's movement to achieve this are an inspiration to the Americas and to the world."



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