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  • Demonstration in favor of women's rights, Argentina, 2020.

    Demonstration in favor of women's rights, Argentina, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @Lafmneiva

Published 1 December 2020
Opinion

The legal proposal establishes that women may request the voluntary termination of pregnancy until the 14th week of gestation. 

Argentina’s Lower House on Tuesday began the process for the discussion of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Bill sent by President Alberto Fernandez.

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This bill will be analyzed by commissions related to general legislation, diversity, health, criminal law, and women. Once the discussions are over, the commissions will issue an opinion to take the bill to debate in plenary, which is expected to happen on December 10.

The treatment of this law occurs amid intense controversies between those who are in favor of guaranteeing women's rights and those who resist the legalization of abortion. Since this polarization also exists within the Lower House, the bill could not go to the Senate if it does not receive enough support from the lawmakers.

While there is such a possibility, the "National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe, and Free Abortion", which summons thousands of Argentine women, aspires to see the bill become law this year.

In 2018, a project to legalize abortion had already been debated during Mauricio Macri's administration (2015-2019). On that occasion, while the Lower House endorsed the bill, the Senate rejected it.

This time, the Executive Power took a clear stance on the issue, drafted a bill, and sent it accompanied by a plan to protect women during pregnancies and the baby's first three years.

The Fernandez administration's bill establishes that women may request the voluntary termination of pregnancy until the 14th week of gestation. Public and private health providers must respond to this request within a maximum period of ten days. However, the bill allows health professionals to exercise their right to conscientious objection.

After week 14, the woman will only have the right to terminate her pregnancy if it had been the result of rape or if her health or life is at risk.

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