Argentina moves towards legalisation of abortion

Argentina's Senate last time rejected a move to legalise abortion but that could change with the latest legislation, which was put forward by the president.Reuters

Argentina could soon become the fourth country in Latin America where abortion is legal after a vote in the lower house in Friday.

The bill, backed by President Alberto Fernández, will go to the Senate before the end of the month after passing by 131 votes to 117 in the lower house.

Under Argentina's current law, abortion is only permitted in situations of rape or where the mother's life is in danger. 

The legislation is seeking to change that by making abortion legal in all circumstances up to 14 weeks. 

A similar bill to decriminalize abortion was rejected by the Senate in 2018, but unlike that legislation, this one has the backing of the president.

The Pope, who hails from Argentina, last month reiterated his opposition to abortion in a letter to pro-life campaigners in the country. 

In the letter, sent to Mujeres de las Villas, a women's network campaigning for the rights of the unborn in and around Buenos Aires, the Pope said that "the problem of abortion is not primarily a question of religion, but of human ethics, first and foremost of any religious denomination".

"It is good to ask two questions: Is it fair to eliminate a human life to solve a problem? Is it right to hire a killer to solve a problem?" he added.