After claiming victory in the lower chamber of Argentina’s Congress, women's rights activists now face the uphill task of getting the bill passed in the Senate even with several of the country's senators pledging support for the law, which legalizes abortions up to 14th weeks.
On Thursday, Argentines who support legal, safe and free abortions celebrated the bill’s approval by 129 legislators. However, the law still needs approval in the Senate, and widespread support in the streets will play a key role as it did in the lower chamber.
The Senate, which has historically been more conservative than the lower chamber, will decide the bill’s fate since president Mauricio Macri has already announced he will respect the decision made by the legislative and will not veto the law.
According to a preliminary count by Argentine newspaper Pagina 12, there are 28 senators in favor, 30 against and 14 who have not announced their position.
Miguel Pinchetto, leader of the Federal Argentina parliamentary bloc, told reporters he is confident the bill will become law in a less than a month. Support for the bill comes from all parties along the ideological spectrum.
Members of the governing party Cambiemos have also declared support for the bill, and the Front for Victory party, which has nine senators, announced they would vote for the law as a united bloc, confirming former president Cristina de Kirchner has reconsidered her opposition to legalizing abortion.
The leaders of the two governing parties, Humberto Schiavoni of the Pro, and Luis Naidenoff of Cambiemos have expressed their support for the bill.
Naidenoff told local newspaper La Nacion “we are not facing a debate on faith, but rather on public health.”
Dates for the debate in the Senate remain unknown, but Pinchetto said it could happen after winter recess, in July. Analysts believe it will be essential to maintain the momentum and push for a prompt vote.