Argentina's abortion bill is backed by lower house of Congress

Abortion-rights supporters react in Buenos Aires as Argentina's lower house approves a bill that would legalize abortion.

Argentina's lower house of Congress has approved a landmark government-backed bill to legalize abortion Friday morning, a big step forward for the legislation that could set the tone for a wider shift in conservative Latin America.

In an extraordinary session, the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina passed the bill with 131 votes in favor, 117 against and 6 abstentions. The bill now moves to the senate for a debate and vote.
Currently, abortion in Argentina is only legal in cases of rape or lethal threat to a woman's life. The proposed law could legalize abortion in all cases up to 14 weeks.
    If passed by the Senate, Argentina, the birthplace of Pope Francis, will be one of the first major South American countries to legalize abortion.
    "This is a fundamental step and recognition of a long struggle that women's movements have been carrying out in our country for years," Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, the government's Women, Gender and Diversity minister, said after the vote.
    "We are going to continue working so that the voluntary termination of pregnancy becomes law."
    Abortion-rights supporters rally Thursday outside Argentina's Congress with green handkerchiefs associated with the movement to decriminalize abortion.
    Protesters supporting the bill had gathered outside Congress wearing green scarves for an overnight vigil to await the news. A similar vote to legalize abortion was narrowly defeated in a Senate vote in 2018 after passing the lower house.
    Opposition groups, wearing light blue scarves, also took to the streets to demonstrate against the bill.
    "They don't want to show what an abortion is," said Mariana Ledger who was protesting against the bill holding a cross and a dummy of a headless and bloodied fetus.
    "This is it, and they don't want to show it. They are hiding the truth, we are not foolish people."
    Amnesty Inte