Voluntary termination of pregnancy

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Demonstration at the Argentine Congress during the voting of the abortion bill.

The voluntary termination of pregnancy is a proposed abortion law bill in Argentina.


The text of the bill only uses the term "abortion" when it makes references to articles of the penal code, that would be modified. In all other cases, it uses the term "voluntary termination of pregnancy".[1] It also makes reference to both women and people that may become pregnant, in reference to cases of transgender pregnancy.[2]

An abortion may be performed during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, with no requirements other than the woman's desire. After that point, an abortion may be performed in the case of rape, risk to the life or health of the woman, or risk of stillbirth. Those three cases may allow abortion at any point of the pregnancy, even in its last stages. In the case of rape, a woman only needs to sign an oath, without needing to make a criminal complaint. Minors do not require parental authorization to abort. There is no limit on the number of times a woman may perform abortions.[1]

Once the woman informs her desire to abort, the healthcare facility has a maxium of five days to perform it. The pre-abortion interviews are restricted to information about abortion methods, and may not attempt to discourage the woman from aborting. The process must keep discretion about the identity of the woman. All healcare facilities, both public and private, must guarantee to perform abortions in the time required and for free. Judicial authorizations are not needed.[1]

Medics are allowed to claim themselves conscientious objectors, by signing a registry beforehand. This can only be done on a personal level, healthcare facilities are not allowed to do so, even those founded by religious organizations.[1]

The bill also instructs the establishment of sex education in schools and policies to prevent unwanted pregnancies, although those had already been in place. It also instructs the creation of abortion-related statistics.[1]

The sanctions in the penal code remain for the cases when a medic performs an abortion without the woman's authorization. A medic that performs an abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy without it being among the accepted cases may be sentenced to prison, from three months to a year. A medic who delays, obstructs or refuses to perform an abortion may be sentenced to prison, from six months to two years, and with a disqualification for the double of time. If this refusal led to the birth of the baby, the sentence raises from two to five years.[1]


President Mauricio Macri encouraged the discussion of an abortion law during the 2018 opening of regular sessions of the National Congress of Argentina.[3] After some months of abortion debate in the media, the bill was approved by the internal commissions of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies for general legislation, health, penal legislation and family. It was approved by 64 to 57 votes, which allowed it to be discussed by the chamber itself.[4] The bill was approved by the Argentine Chamber of Deputies by a narrow margin of 129 to 125 votes. The proposal divided both the legislators of Cambiemos and the Justicialist Party.[5] The project was again approved by the internal commissions to be debated in the Chamber of Deputies in 2019.

Political reactions[edit]


Elisa Carrió, one of the most influential figures of the official government coalition, is a strong pro-life advocate. She suspected that some legislators were instructed to vote in support of the bill, and threatened to leave the coalition.[6]

Víctor Fernández, archbishop of La Plata, asked the president to use a veto against the law, if he was truly against abortion. Marcos Peña, chief of the cabinet of ministers, confirmed that Macri would honor the result of the discussion, and would not veto the bill if approved.[7]


The Peronist factions in Argentina (the Justicialist Party, the Renewal Front and the Front for Victory) are also divided over the project. During the preliminary discussions in the Senate, there were conflicting views over the chance of doctors refusing to perform abortions as conscientious objectors. Miguel Pichetto opposed it, claiming that everybody should obey the law. José Mayans considered instead that a state-enforced killing would be similar to a capital punishment, which is not allowed in the Argentine legislation.[8]

Senator Guillermo Snopek, who is against abortion, requested that the minister of health Adolfo Rubinstein was not allowed to make a speech during the preliminary discussions in the senate. He considered that such a speech could influence the legislators and be a breach to the separation of powers. He also accused him of having ties with the International Planned Parenthood Federation.[9] The request was dismissed, and Rubinstein made his speech without problems. He clarified that he was not talking in the name of the government but just of the ministry of health, and that he only intended to provide relevant statistics, and not engage in the moral aspects of the abortion debate.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Claudia Peiro (June 12, 2018). "Las "perlas" del proyecto de legalización del aborto que se vota en Diputados" [The "pearls" of the abortion legalization project voted by deputees] (in Spanish). Infobae. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  2. ^ "Aborto: por qué el proyecto se refiere a "mujeres y personas gestantes"" [Abortion: Why does the project talk about "women and people that may become pregnant"] (in Spanish). Clarín. June 12, 2018. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  3. ^ "Mauricio Macri en el Congreso: reviví el minuto a minuto de la Asamblea Legislativa" [Mauricio Macri in the Congress, relive the minute by minute of the Legislative assembly] (in Spanish). La Nación. March 1, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  4. ^ Laura Serra (June 12, 2018). "El proyecto para la despenalización del aborto obtuvo dictamen en comisión: 64 votos a favor, 57 en contra" [The project for the legalization of abortion got dictum in the committees: 64 for, 57 against] (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  5. ^ "Argentina lower house passes legal abortion bill in tight vote". Reuters. June 14, 2018. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  6. ^ Mariano Obarrio (July 11, 2018). "Macri recibió anoche a la UCR para limar asperezas tras las críticas de Carrió" [Macri met the UCR tonight to make amends after the criticisms of Carrió] (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Jaime Rosemberg (July 11, 2018). "Debate por el aborto: Peña insistió en que Macri no vetará la ley si es sancionada" [Abortion debate: Peña insisted that Macri will not veto the law if approved] (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  8. ^ Gustavo Ybarra (July 11, 2018). "Fuerte pelea entre senadores del PJ durante el debate por el aborto" [Strong clash between senators of the PJ during the abortion debate] (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  9. ^ Gustavo Ybarra (July 23, 2018). "Aborto: impugnan la presentación de Rubinstein en el Senado" [Abortion: they reject the speech of Rubinstein in the senate] (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  10. ^ Gustavo Ybarra (July 25, 2018). "Los cruces con el ministro Rubinstein dominaron la audiencia sobre el aborto" [The discussions with minister Rubinstein dominated the abortion summit] (in Spanish). La Nación. Retrieved July 26, 2018.

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