Feminists in Uruguay demand President-elect to support legal abortion

.- More than 50 feminist organizations have sent an open letter to Uruguayan President-elect Tabaré Vásquez demanding he support the legalization of abortion in that country.  As 2004 drew to a close Vásquez publicly stated his opposition to such a move.

Arguing that the State should maintain its “laicity” and “the plurality of society,” feminists complained that the President-elect met with representatives of the Catholic Church to discuss the problem of abortion.

“Once more, certain aspects that affect family life and a woman’s right to choose have again become the subject of conversations behind closed doors between politicians and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church,” they complained.

Arguing that the majority of Uruguayans support legal abortion, feminists are pressuring Vásquez to act accordingly.

Feminists claim that since 1984 there has been a constant effort to decriminalize abortion in Uruguay but without success.  The latest attempt comes in the form of a proposed bill called the “Defense of Reproductive Health,” which was passed by the House of Representatives on December 10, 2002, “but never became law because on May 4, 2004, it failed to be approved in the Senate by 3 votes.”

The controversial bill touches upon everything from sex education to contraception, responsible parenthood and the possibility of obtaining abortions up to the 12th week of pregnancy, all underneath the umbrella of “sexual and reproductive rights.”

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