BUENOS AIRES – The National Campaign for Legal, Safe and Free Abortion asked the Argentine Senate on Monday to delay the discussion on the legal situation of former President Cristina Fernandez so as not to distract from this week’s scheduled debate on a bill to legalize abortion.
“The Senate has not been sufficiently friendly toward the voices and requests of women in general...the atmosphere has been very hostile,” alliance representative Marta Alanis told a press conference at the seat of the upper house in Buenos Aires.
Besides criticizing the fact that most women wearing the green scarves of the campaign would not be allowed to enter the Senate for the debate, she denounced the “obstacles” imposed by the upper house in recent weeks by referring the bill for review by four separate committees.
The abortion-rights bill passed the lower house on June 14.
Alanis noted the fact that on Wednesday when decriminalizing abortion will be debated, it is possible that the upper house will turn the senators’ attention to discussing a judge’s request to carry out searches on Fernandez, currently a senator, as part of a corruption investigation.
For Alanis, the Senate is “underestimating” the popular demonstration, which is expected to double the one on June 13-14, when nearly 1 million women gathered outside Congress to demand that the lower house pass the bill, while hundreds of pro-life demonstrators turned out to oppose the legislation.
At the moment, 37 of the 72 senators are against the bill passed by the lower house, while 26 support it. Two others say they plan to abstain and seven members have not announced their decision.
But the number of lawmakers who will give a green light to the bill will rise to 31 if the period when a pregnancy may be terminated is reduced from 14 weeks to 12, and if conscientious objection is permitted and doctors are not penalized if they refuse to perform an abortion.