Argentina's Senate voted to legalize abortion on Wednesday, making it legal up to the 14th week of pregnancy, as well as in cases where the mother's life is in danger and in cases of rape.
Voting 38-29 after a session that lasted 12 hours from late Tuesday to early Wednesday, the Senate made Argentina the largest country in Latin America to legalize abortion.
The decision was lauded by Argentina president Alberto Fernández, who had been supportive of the measure from the beginning, as legalizing abortion was one of his campaign promises.
"Safe, legal and free abortion is law. Today we are a better society that broadens rights for women and guarantees public health," Fernández tweeted after the Senate made its decision.
Fernández presented the abortion bill to Congress on Nov. 17, saying that the state should help care for women, including those "who decide to interrupt their pregnancy." The Lower House passed the bill early this month.
Previous attempts have been made to legalize abortion in the predominantly Catholic country, but it has failed eight times. The last pro-abortion measure was presented to Congress in 2018, but it was struck down by the Senate.
Abortion supporters rejoiced in the outcome of the Senate decision. Vilma Ibarra, author of the new law, said the fight to legalize abortion in Argentina had been "a struggle" for years, Reuters reports.
Pro-choice groups argued that the government's previous refusals to make abortion legal resulted in the death of 3,000 women since 1983 because of clandestine abortions.
"Never again will there be a woman killed in a clandestine abortion," Ibarra said.
The new law will allow conscientious objection for health professionals who refuse to participate in abortion except in cases when the mother's life is in danger or when there is a great risk to her health. However, they should refer the patient to other medical professionals or hospitals.
Many Argentinians oppose the new abortion law. Last month, thousands marched on the streets to voice their protest against the bill ahead of the Congress deliberations. Both the evangelical church and the Catholic church supported the protests.
Lila Rose, long-time pro-life activist and founder of the organization Live Action, said in a tweet that the legalization of abortion in Argentina is "heartbreaking and evil."
"Argentina's Senate has passed the bill legalizing abortion with a 38-29 vote. Crowds of abortion activists cheer in the street. These are children, sons and daughters, whose deaths are being celebrated. Lord have mercy," she tweeted.
Heartbreaking and evil. Argentina’s Senate has passed the bill legalizing abortion with a 38-29 vote. Crowds of abortion activists cheer in the street. These are children, sons and daughters, whose deaths are being celebrated. Lord have mercy. pic.twitter.com/3RPvtnPBAR — Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) December 30, 2020
She recently posted on her Facebook page that "abortion is devastating our world."
She said that abortion has killed 62.5 million children in the US since Roe v Wade, and Planned Parenthood alone has killed 9 million children.
On another post, she said real freedom cannot be achieved "by trampling on the freedom of others."
"That's why when it comes to human lives in the womb, the 'my body, my choice' argument always rings hollow," she wrote.
"Our empowerment as women will never be won through violence against the most vulnerable," she added.