Uruguay Senate Rejects Effort to Legalize Abortion, Pro-Life Victory
by Steven Ertelt
May 5, 2004
Montevideo, Uruguay (LifeNews.com) — The Uruguay senate on Wednesday voted down a proposal that would have made the South American nation the first Latin American country other than Cuba to legalize abortion.
Following passage of a bill to allow abortion by the House in December 2002, the Senate voted against the measure 17-13.
If approved, the legislation would have legalized abortion for any reason during the first three months of pregnancy, define abortion as a "medical act,’ limit conscientious objection by health professionals, and require all health facilities to provide abortions.
In case the Senate would pass the bill, pro-life advocates were counting on Dr. Jorge Battle, the country’s president, to veto it. Battle had already promised Pope John Paul II that he will veto the bill if it is approved.
Abortion advocates claim that the illegal state of abortion leads to tens of thousands of such abortions in the country each year, and that women often die as a result.
"It is not just about being in favor of or against abortion," said Sen. Enrique Rubio, a member of the leftist coalition that backed the bill. "The idea is to educate women so they do not have abortions and to make it legal so they don’t die."
But pro-life groups point to the women who have died from legal abortions, including women in California, Detroit and Sweden recently. They say abortion is dangerous whether legalized or not.
Pro-abortion groups received the support of Catholics for a Free Choice, a U.S.-based group that claims to represent thousands of Catholics who back abortion. CFFC president, Frances Kissling, traveled to Uruguay several months ago and spoke before the Senate.
No Hispanic country in the Western Hemisphere has legalized abortion, with the exception of Cuba. Abortion is legal in Puerto Rico by virtue of its status as a part of the United States.
"Most Spanish speaking countries have strong Judeo-Christian values and protect unborn life," Magaly Llaguno, the director of Vida Humana Internacional, said.
Llaguno feared that if Uruguay approved abortion, other Latin American countries would follow, Observers from several nations were on hand for the vote.
Related web sites:
Vida Humana Internacional – https://www.vidahumana.org