Abortion rights up for debate yet again in Argentina

Protesters hold signs as they rally in support of Planned Parenthood and pro-choice and to protest a state decision that would effectively halt abortions by revoking the center's license to perform the procedure, near the Old Courthouse

On Thursday, Argentine lawmakers began discussions on a bill that would legalize abortion, opening another round of bitter debate in the predominantly Catholic Latin American country.

Ruling party lawmakers sent the bill to the lower house for approval. If over half of the 257 lawmakers approve it in a vote expected on Friday, the bill would be passed to the Senate for permission before becoming law.

The bill was backed by President Alberto Fernandez, who promised to push for the legalization of abortion during his election campaign last year.

Two years ago, during former President Mauricio Macri’s government, the Senate voted against a similar bill to legalize abortion after the lower house narrowly approved it.

Latin America has some of the world’s most prohibitive abortion laws. Mexico City, along with Uruguay and Cuba, are among the few places in the region where women can undergo abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy regardless of the situations.

On Thursday, abortion rights and anti-abortion rioters gathered in separate, assigned areas under tight security.

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