BUENOS AIRES: On Wednesday, the Argentine Senate voted to allow abortion, a first in Latin America for a major country and a victory for women’s rights activists over the Catholic Church’s visceral opposition.
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In a country where the Church has held cultural and political influence for decades, abortion is exceedingly rare. It was historically only authorised on demand in socialist Cuba, tiny Uruguay and parts of Mexico.
After a marathon debate that continued into the night, the intensely contentious vote was taken at 4am. The Senate approved the government’s plan to allow terminations through the 14th week of pregnancy by a vote of 38-29 with one abstention. This month, the lower house had already accepted it.
When the result was read out, outside the Senate building in Buenos Aires, a crowd of thousands of people who had backed the bill erupted in applause, waving the green flags that reflected their initiative. Under the light of dawn, green smoke appeared over the audience.