Uruguay abortion legalization measure passed, heads for expected veto

Uruguay abortion legalization measure passed, heads for expected veto


The Uruguayan Senate on Tuesday approved a measure to expand access to abortion by a vote of 18-13. 

President Tavare Vazquez has repeatedly promised to veto the bill. If the bill is ratified, it will become the first national legislation in Latin America, outside of Cuba, to codify into law a right to abortion.

The legislation was voted down three weeks ago in a tie 15-15 vote, when the alternates of two absent senators either voted against it or abstained. 

The law would establish a right to legal abortion during the first three months of pregnancy for virtually any reason.  In the remaining two trimesters, it will permit abortion in cases of fetal deformity or threats to the mother's life.

Archbishop of Montevideo Nicolás Cotugno denounced the maneuvering of the country's pro-abortion groups, noting their political manipulation of procedure.  According to ACI Prensa, he lamented that a law of such importance could be determined by the licentiousness of just a few senators.

An opinion poll last year showed a majority of Uruguayans favored decriminalizing abortion.  Uruguay is the most liberal of Latin American countries, with lax divorce laws, low Mass attendance, and a high proportion of people who profess no religion. 

President Vazquez, an obstetrician, has maintained his opposition to the law despite his socialist coalition's support for the measure.