In Argentina, abortion is allowed only in cases of rape, or if the mother’s health is in danger.
Earlier this month Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández had said he will send a bill to legalise abortion to Congress within the next 10 days.
“The state must protect its citizens in general and women in particular,” he said in his first annual address to Congress, as reported by The Guardian. “Society in the 21st century needs to respect the individual choice of its members to freely decide about their bodies.”
Abortion is illegal across most of Latin America. In a predominantly Catholic region of 21 countries, it is legal only in Cuba and Uruguay, with populations of 11.2 and 3.4 million respectively. It is also legal in Anglican Guyana, population 780,000.
If the bill is passed, Argentina – with a population of 45 million – will become the largest country in the region to legalise abortion.
Women’s rights activists in Argentina welcomed Fernández’s announcement.
“We are very happy; today is a historic day,” the writer and campaigner Ana Correa said. “The decriminalisation and legalisation of abortion is finally within reach. Let’s hope that congress is up to the role assigned to it.”
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