The Uruguayan Senate is set to vote today on a bill that in practice would legalize abortion on demand in the country. Slipping under the radar screen of the media, the bill’s sponsors introduced the measure last Friday, as the country moved into a three-day weekend.
Analysts told CNA said the strategy to take advantage of a lack of coverage over the long weekend was similar to another effort to legalize abortion in May of 2004, when the measure was defeated by a vote of 17 to 13.
The new bill would legalize abortion during the first trimester and allow for abortion at any time in cases of life and health of the mother. Health is defined as “the general state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not only the absence of illness or ailments,” which in practice would mean legalized abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy, as in other countries. The law would also allow minors to obtain abortions without parental consent.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Monica Xavier of the Socialist Party, said the measure links abortion to “aspects related to sexuality and reproduction,” bypassing a “black and white debate” on the issue.
Uruguayan president Tabare Vasquez has promised to veto any bill that would legalize abortion, which pro-lifers say provides at least some hope that the measure will not pass at least until after the next elections.