Uruguay Senate Approves Bill Legalizing Abortion, President Vasquez Will Veto
by Steven Ertelt
November 11, 2008
Montevideo, Uruguay (LifeNews.com) — The Uruguay Senate has given final approval to a bill that would legalize abortion in the South American country, but President Tabare Vasquez says he will veto it. Abortion advocates from outside the small nation have been pressuring lawmakers there for years to allow abortions.
Most of the nations in Central and South America prohibit abortions in line with the overwhelmingly strong Catholic beliefs of the people.
Senator Monica Javier of the ruling party indicates 17 of the 30 members of the Senate voted for the bill Tuesday, which would allow abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The Chamber of Deputies approved it on a 49-48 margin.
Vásquez vetoed a similar bill earlier this year that would have allowed abortions on virtually any grounds during the early part of pregnancy.
Vásquez defied the votes of his party in the Uruguay Congress to expand the nation’s abortion law, which currently only allows abortions only in cases of protecting the mother’s life, rape or extreme poverty.
In its vote on the previous bill Vasquez vetoed, the Senate approved it 18-13, meaning one less senator voted for the abortion measure this time.
Leaders of the Catholic Church in Uruguay met last week to discuss whether or not to excommunicate politicians from the lower chamber of Congress who recently voted for the bill.
With many members of Congress having membership in the Catholic Church, officials are concerned that they are violating the church’s pro-life teachings.
The Latin American news agency Prensa Latina says members of the Uruguayan Episcopal Conference debated a measure for excommunication last week.
The met in the town of Florida, north of the nation’s capital, and began their discussion of the warning the Montevideo Archbishop gave to the members of the Chamber of Deputies to not deviate from Catholic pro-life teachings.
They are deciding whether or not the warning is sufficient for now, but a majority of the members of the Catholic conference appear to favor excommunication but only after every member of Congress has had a chance to respond to the warning.
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