Uruguay legalises abortion

Publié le : 19 October 2012

On Wednesday 17 October, the "Uruguayan Senate approved the bill legalising abortion up to 12 weeks of gestation, under certain conditions." On 26 September, the house of parliament had already given its approval. This adoption by the Senate makes Uruguay "the third country of Latin America to legalise abortion," after Cuba and Guyana.

The law, proposed by the left-wing majority of the Frente Amplio currently in power, "was voted through by 17 senators out of 31, including the 16 representatives of the Frente Amplio and one member of the opposition." Following this enactment, President José Mujica "indicated that he would not oppose the promulgation of the law."
"Inspired by the legislation in force in European countries, the law authorises the termination of pregnancy before 12 weeks of gestation, on condition that the woman has previously met a team of at least three professionals": a gynaecologist, a psychologist and a social worker. They must inform the pregnant woman "about the medical risks, the alternatives and the social welfare programmes for assistance to maternity or adoption." Furthermore, "the law includes a clause on the freedom of conscience of health professionals opposed to abortion."

Several prominent figures issued reactions to this enactment. Senator Luis Gallo, from the Frente Amplio, stated that "this law is in tune with the social consensus today in Uruguay." For the opposition, senator Alfredo Solari of the Colorado party (right-wing) denounced "a complex system that is difficult to apply, notably in the provinces" where according to him it will be complicated to have access to a multidisciplinary team for the candidates for abortion.

Maria José Scaniello, spokesperson of CLADEM-Uruguay, the network of women’s rights organisations, told AFP that she had “mixed feelings” about the law. Sofia Reyes, representing the Provida (pro-life) movement, said that she repeated her "opposition to the law and that with or without the law" her group would "continue to support mothers so that they can give birth to their baby."

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