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Bill To Legalize Abortion Loses Vote In Argentina

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Bill To Legalize Abortion Loses Vote In Argentina

Argentina's senate has rejected a bill that would have legalized abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

After a marathon debate, 38 senators voted against it and 31 in favor, report CNN and the BBC. Its defeat means lawmakers must wait until next year to resubmit legislation.

Currently abortion is allowed in Argentina only in cases of rape, or if the mother's health is in danger.

Demonstrators on both sides of the debate rallied outside parliament as voting took place. A heavy police presence around the National Congress in Buenos Aires quickly quelled scattered confrontations after the vote's outcome was announced.

Opposition mounted ahead of the vote in Argentina's more conservative Senate after the legislation only narrowly passed through the lower house of Congress in June. And the bill lost momentum over the weekend when an opposition senator withdrew her support.

Anti-abortion activists have been jubilant. "It's a joy to see that our society can be based on such an important principle as the defence of the most defenceless, the child," said one.

Pro-choice campaigners say they are not giving up. Some started fires and lobbed missiles at police after the vote.

Image credit: AFP