.- President Tabare Vasquez of Uruguay has vetoed a controversial law on sexual and reproductive health that legalized abortion and had been approved by the country’s House of Representatives by a vote of 49-48. Likewise, as she had recently announced, the Minister of Public Health, Maria Julia Munoz, and the Minster of the Interior, Hector Lescano, also signed the veto in support of the president’s decision.
According to the newspaper El Observador, the veto applies to all sections of the bill except for the first chapter, which deals with sexual and reproductive health.
Article 8 of chapter II read: “in the exercise of the sexual and reproductive rights that the present law protects and recognizes, any woman shall have the right to decide whether to interrupt her pregnancy during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy.”
According to Article 9, the voluntary interruption of pregnancy would be allowed if a woman informs her doctor of circumstances such as “economic, social or family hardship,” situations which in reality could be stretched to justify abortion for any reason. The bill only stipulated that the woman sign an informed consent agreement prior to the procedure.
Carlos Polo of the Population Research Institute in Latin America said it was “surprising that the Uruguayan president had ten days to issue his reaction to the law but that not even two had passed before he issued the veto he promised months ago, despite support for the measure within his own party.”