The South American country of Uruguay has approved a bill permitting abortion throughout the first trimester, reports state.
As previously reported, last month, the House of Representatives passed a measure permitting abortions up to 12 weeks by a single vote of 50-49. Women must be first screened by a medical doctor, mental health professional and social worker prior to the procedure, and must wait five days to “reflect” before ending the life of their child.
This past Thursday, the Senate likewise approved the bill in a much more divided vote of 17-14.
Heretofore, Uruguay permitted abortion in instances of rape and the life of the mother. Additionally, according to AFP, some medical abortions were already allowed unofficially, as “[a] non-surgical technique made use of the drug Misoprostol, a common ulcer medication, to facilitate expulsion of the fetus.”
While Uruguay now becomes one of the few South American countries to permit abortion for any reason with the approval of a medical, social and mental professional, many countries do provide exceptions for abortion. Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and others allow abortions to “save the life of the mother” or to “preserve the woman’s health.” Columbia also permits abortion for mental reasons. The country of Belize allows abortions for nearly every reason, including socioeconomic purposes.
“This is a sad day for Uruguay and for Latin America, which for the most part has stood strong against pressure from powerful Western governments to cut their birth rates to a level with which wealthy elites will be more comfortable,” said Shenan J. Boquet, Human Life International President in a statement following the vote.
President Jose Mujica, a medical doctor, has stated that he will sign the bill when it reaches his desk.