.- By a vote of 17-14, the Uruguayan Senate voted to ratify a bill allowing abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy, sending the measure to President Jose Mujica for his promised approval.
The Oct. 17 vote came after the bill was passed in the Uruguayan House of Representatives on Sept. 25.
A recent survey revealed that 56 percent of Uruguayans oppose abortion and want protection for the unborn.
The new law stipulates that women who wish to obtain an abortion must first appear before a commission of doctors and social workers to receive information about their decision. After a five day waiting period, they will be allowed to proceed with an abortion if they wish.
It also grants conscience protection to doctors and health care workers who refuse to perform abortions. They are required to notify their hospital or clinic administrators of their objection, which will apply to any other institution where they provide services.
Sofia Reyes of the Provida movement said lawmakers who approved the law are discriminating against women. “With or without the law, our work remains supporting mothers so they can have their babies.”
In August 2012, 20 pro-life organizations denounced the process that led to passage of the law as a serious violation of democratic principles that revealed the intentions of the anti-life lobby to impose abortion on Uruguay at all costs.
The bishops of Uruguay have voiced their rejection of the legalization of abortion on numerous occasions and have called for “an alternative proposal that respects and protects women, maternity, the family and the life of the unborn … without eliminating the right to life of the unborn child.”
In 2008, the Uruguayan Congress voted to legalize abortion up to the 12th week by a vote of 49-48, but then-President Tabare Vazquez vetoed the measure.