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'Caring for Life Is the First Human Right': Argentine Senate Rejects Elective Abortion

08-09-2018

Argentina's Senate voted Thursday to not legalize elective abortion in the primarily Catholic country that's been heatedly divided over the issue. 

Home to Pope Francis, the nation's traditionally pro-life stance appeared to be in jeopardy as Argentina's lower house had approved the abortion measure and the president had promised to sign it. But the Senate said no.

Both pro-life and pro-choice advocates took to the streets to make their voices heard by lawmakers over the last few months as the bill was debated.

Even Argentinian doctors joined the demonstrations, many of them pro-life, with signs saying, "I'm a doctor, not a murderer."

Hundreds of the pro-life doctors staged their protests just days before the Senate vote. They vowed not to take human lives, no matter what it costs them. 

Officials at about 300 private hospitals and medical facilities also denounced the legislation ahead of the Argentine Senate vote.

Despite the major influence of Catholicism on the nation, the people are passionately divided about abortion. 

Church leaders held a "Mass for Life" the night before the vote... while many advocates for and against the bill filled the streets, awaiting the results of the vote outside the capitol building. 
  
"It's not about religious beliefs but about a humanitarian reason," Cardinal Mario Poli, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, told churchgoers. "Caring for life is the first human right and the duty of the State."
  
On the other side, activists fighting for legalized abortion say 3,000 women in Argentina have died of illegal abortions since 1983.

Pope Francis this year had denounced abortion as the "white glove" equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics program and urged families "to accept the children that God gives them."
  

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