Following a conservative Senate vote on December 30, 2020, Argentina became the first major South American country to legalize abortion, a sign of the growing secularization of a still predominantly Catholic state.
“We have made history,” shout pro-abortion activists, dressed in green and gathered in front of the Buenos Aires Parliament, in the early morning of December 30, 2020. In fact, free abortion until the fourteenth week of pregnancy is now legalized.
The debates were bitter: according to the President of the Senate, Cristina Kirchner the former President of the Republic, 7 senators out of 72 were present during the session which began on December 29 at 4 p.m. local time.
The others participated by videoconference, due to the risks associated with the Covid-19 epidemic.
The vote took place around 4:30 am (8:30 am in Paris) the next day: thirty-eight senators approved the text, twenty-nine opposed it, and one senator abstained.
The involvement of Pope Francis in the debate, which has hitherto remained fairly discreet, has changed nothing: “the Son of God was born rejected, to tell us that every rejected person is a child of God. He came into the world as a small enfant, weak and fragile, so that we can tenderly welcome our weaknesses,” tweeted the Argentine pontiff, on December 29, in a message interpreted by the Argentinian press as a rejection of the law.
The Argentine Catholic Church—joined by the Evangelical Protestants—for its part, had launched an appeal to “unite to implore respect and care for unborn life,” with a day of fasting and prayer: a mobilization that was not enough to tip the balance in favor of the culture of life.
In order to tip a predominantly conservative senate over to its side, the government, with skill, took care to arrange the initial bill, to include the option for doctors, to assert their “conscientious objection.”
At the same time, another bill created a so-called “thousand day” allowance intended to support mothers during their pregnancy and their child’s first years, in order to reduce abortions for economic reasons.
The weather on December 30 in Buenos Aires was dreary and heavy, like the law passed in the early morning, by which Argentina has just joined the sinister circle of countries such as Cuba, Uruguay, Guyana, Mexico City, and the Mexican state of Oaxaca who have chosen to legalize the murder of the unborn child.