Argentina’s senate rejects contentious abortion bill

Argentina’s Senate rejected a divisive bill that would have legalised elective abortion for pregnancies of up to 14 weeks.
Thirty-eight senators voted against the controversial legislation on Thursday following a debate that lasted more than 15 hours.
There were 31 votes in favour – falling short of the 35-vote majority needed for bills to pass – and two abstentions.
The bill had originally been passed by Congress’ lower house by a narrow margin in June.
The proposed bill provoked fierce debate in the majority Catholic country, where demonstrations for and against the legislation have taken place frequently in recent weeks. Thousands gathered outside Argentina’s National Congress in the capital, Buenos Aires, to watch the vote on large screens.
Anti-abortion campaigners and clergy waved Argentine flags outside Congress as the result was announced at 3am local time (0600GMT).
Many who support abortion rights also gathered to hear the result, wearing green scarves and headbands, which have become symbols of the pro-abortion cause. “I’m still optimistic. It didn’t pass today but it will pass tomorrow, it will pass the next day. This is not over,” Natalia Carol, a supporter of the bill, told Reuters news agency. Some pro-abortion campaigners have reacted angrily to the result, starting fires and throwing stones at police who responded with teargas and water cannon.Several arrests have reportedly been made.Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman, reporting from Buenos Aires, said despite strong feelings on both sides, the response to the results has been largely peaceful.

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