Activists in favor of the legalization of abortion comfort each other outside the National Congress in Buenos Aires. -AFP
Argentina's senate has rejected a bill which would have legalized abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. After a marathon debate, 38 senators voted against it and 31 in favor.
Its defeat means lawmakers must wait until next year to resubmit legislation. Currently abortion is allowed in Argentina only in cases of rape, or if the mother's health is in danger. Demonstrators on both sides of the debate rallied outside parliament as voting took place.
Anti-abortion activists have been jubilant. "It's joy to see that our society can be based on such an important principle as the defense of the most defenseless, the child," said one. Pro-choice campaigners say they are not giving up. Some started fires and lobbed missiles at police after the vote.
Pro-choice campaigners have for years tried to get bills passed in Argentina, where the population is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.
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