Argentina’s Lower House Approves a Bill to Legalize Abortion

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Argentina’s lower house of Congress approved a bill to legalize abortion, a big step forward for the legislation that could set the tone for a wider shift in conservative Latin America.

The draft law, which would allow the legal termination of pregnancies up to the 14th week, was passed with 131 votes in favor, 117 against, and six abstentions. It will now move up to the Senate, where an even tighter vote is expected.

The votes in Argentina, the birthplace of Pope Francis, come amid calls for greater reproductive rights for women across the predominantly Roman Catholic region.

“This is a fundamental step and recognition of a long struggle that women’s movements have been carrying out in our country for years,” Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, the government’s Women, Gender and Diversity minister, said after the vote.“We are going to continue working so that the voluntary termination of pregnancy becomes law.”

A similar vote to legalize abortion was narrowly defeated in a Senate vote in 2018 after passing the lower house.

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