Uruguay President Offers to Quit Party Leadership After Abortion Bill Veto
by Steven Ertelt
December 4, 2008
Montevideo, Uruguay (LifeNews.com) — President Tabare Vazquez of Uruguay was out of step with his colleagues in the ruling Socialist Party when he vetoed a bill that would have legalized abortion in the South American nation. Now he is considering stepping down from party leadership because of the criticism he’s endured.
Vazquez vetoed the bill last month, which 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 the veto and lawmakers are angry and vowing to bring back the legislation for a third time next year.
Vazquez has now vetoed the abortion bill twice — once earlier this year — and Reuters reports Monica Xavier, a Socialist Party senator, talking about the offer to step down on a local radio program.
"The offer came in a few days ago. It is a painful decision, both for the president and for us, and we will do everything possible to keep him from leaving," she said.
Vazquez is a doctor and said after the veto that more should be done to help pregnant women with unplanned pregnancies other than making abortion available. He voiced "deep discomfort" with the bill because it included elements "with which I disagree, philosophically and biologically."
Vazquez also would not promise to allow a national referendum on the unlimited abortion bill, which some pro-abortion members of Congress want.
The nation’s abortion law currently only allows abortions in cases of protecting the mother’s life, rape or extreme poverty. Only Cuba and Guyana have legal abortions in the region, although Mexico City legalized abortions to 12 weeks of pregnancy last year.
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.
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