In his homily, the cardinal reiterated that "abortion will always be a tragedy" and "is far from being a solution." He voiced prayers that the senators would "legislate for the common good, put forward the best of your experiences in order to safeguard everyone's right to life, especially the weakest and most defenseless."
Between 70 and 90 percent of Argentinians are estimated to be Catholic. A pro-life march in the country earlier this year drew approximately 150,000 attendees.
Despite wind and rain, thousands of Argentinians spent the evening outside the National Congress building to await the results of the vote.
When the final tally was announced, pro-life demonstrators celebrated with cheers and fireworks.
Some abortion advocates lit fires and threw rocks at police, according to local media reports. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons, and most of the clashes were quickly settled, CNN said.
Amnesty International Argentina, which supports abortion, lamented the vote, saying that the senators "lost an historic opportunity to be leaders in human rights" and announced that they will not rest "until there is legal abortion."
However, Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International, countered that "There is no 'right to abortion' under international law."
"We applaud the Argentinian Senate for upholding the fundamental rights to life and conscience," he said. "The people of Argentina may now continue to live in a country where both lives matter: the life of the mother and the life of the child."