Uruguay Congress Fails to Override Vazquez Veto of Bill to Legalize Abortion
by Steven Ertelt
November 20, 2008
Montevideo, Uruguay (LifeNews.com) — Members of the Uruguay Congress failed to override a presidential veto of a bill that would have allowed abortions for virtually any reason during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Both the House and Senate failed to achieve the 60 percent margin needed to override President Tabare Vazquez’s veto.
Had the override been successful, the South American nation could have become one of the few nations in the region to legalize abortions.
Legislator Jaime Trobo told the AFP news agency that the veto override failed but he did not provide the final vote tally.
Originally, 17 members of the Senate voted for the abortion bill and the Chamber of Deputies approved it on a slim 49-48 margin.
Vazquez, a doctor by profession, had voiced "deep discomfort" with the bill because it included elements "with which I disagree, philosophically and biologically." The veto came after some members of his governing party tried to persuade him to sign it.
Vazquez also would not promise to allow a national referendum on the unlimited abortion bill.
The president also vetoed a similar bill earlier this year that would have allowed abortions on virtually any grounds during the early part of pregnancy.
The Uruguay Congress tried to expand the nation’s abortion law, which currently only allows abortions in cases of protecting the mother’s life, rape or extreme poverty.
Leaders of the Catholic Church recently met 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.
They 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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