Uruguay President Vazquez Vetoes Bill legalizing Abortions in Early Pregnancy

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 13, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Uruguay President Vazquez Vetoes Bill legalizing Abortions in Early Pregnancy

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 13
, 2008

Montevideo, Uruguay (LifeNews.com) — The president of the South American nation of Uruguay today vetoed legislation that would make the small nation one of the few in the region to legalize abortions. President Tabare Vasquez made good on his promise to veto the legislation the Congress approved.

Tourist Minister Hector Lescano informed the media of the veto Thursday afternoon and said members of the House and Senate lacked the three-fifths vote required to override it.

There were 7 of the 30 members of the Senate who voted for the bill on Tuesday and the Chamber of Deputies approved it on a slim 49-48 margin.

The measure would allow abortions for virtually any reason during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy even though most of the nations in Central and South America prohibit abortions in line with the overwhelmingly strong Catholic beliefs of the people.

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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