March 7, 2014
Congressional committee passes abortion preliminary resolution
The Lower House’s Criminal Legislation Committee passed a ruling on one of the draft bills that seek to de-criminalize abortion and the project moves forward. With six votes out of 12, the committee issued a ruling that approves the voluntary interruption of pregnancy until its 12th week in a “safe, legal and free” way.
Before the bill can be debated on the floor, it must achieve rulings on the Family and Health committees. One of its main supporters is lawmaker Cecilia Merchán, of the Juana Azurduy bloc, who firmly backs the “sex education to decide, birth control to avoid abortion, and legal abortion to avoid death” message.
Likewise, a minority ruling was issued regarding Civic Coalition lawmaker Juan Carlos Vega’s bill. He seeked to to discuss the regulation of Article 86 of the Penal code, which contemplates the non-punishable exceptions of abortion, including rape cases, and when the mother’s life and health are at risk.
After several setbacks, the parliament began the analysis of the seven bills that seek, through different viewpoints, to decriminalize abortion. The debate was heated, because at first, only five of the seven of the projects were going to be discussed –those which pertained to the Criminal Legislation and Family committees, while the remaining two were to be simply looked over.
Following some setbacks, the debate finally opened today focusing on different points, but in particular, the voluntary termination of pregnancy.The discussion will also give the government and the opposition the opportunity to grant members of parliament certain “freedoms” in their decision-making.
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner didn't order the debate to be interrupted, and thus the Victory Front lawmakers were present during the debate.
The debate was heated due to the fact that the topic springs controversy between the defence and those who are outright opposed to the idea, raising ideological and moral questions, and those of religion, just as it did when homosexual marriage was approved last year.
Cynthia Hotton, a lawmaker of the Valores para mi país bloc, outspokenly opposes abortion, on grounds of her religious convictions-she's an Evangelist- and last year led several rallies against the same sex marriage law, which eventually was passed on July 2010.
The projects looking at possibly changing the laws on abortion have generated worry amongst those in the Catholic Church, which has started to openly work against the cause.In Argentina it is estimated that between 500 thousand and 700 thousand abortions are carried out every year.