Uruguay senate backs first-trimester abortion

Uruguay senate backs abortion bill
El senado de Uruguay aprobó la ley que despenaliza el aborto.


    Uruguay senate backs abortion bill


Uruguay senate backs abortion bill 02:21

Story highlights

  • The bill passed on a 17-14 vote, and the president has said he will sign it into law
  • Opponents say they will push for a referendum on the measure
  • The bill says abortion seekers must go to a doctor, who will refer them to a panel
  • There will be a five-day waiting period afterward

The senate of the tiny South American nation of Uruguay, the current standard-bearer on progressive policies on the continent, on Wednesday passed a bill legalizing abortion.

Leftist President Jose Mujica has said he will sign the bill into law, which will make it the latest in a number of laws in the region that go against the grain of the traditionally very Catholic, socially conservative Latin America.

With Mujica's signature, Uruguay will become just the second nation in Latin America where abortion is legal.

But the debate over abortion in the country is far from over.

Sen. Jose Amorin, a critic of the bill, said that opponents will begin collecting signatures in an effort to force a referendum where the public could vote down the measure.

The senate approved it in a 17-14 vote.

A similar bill had passed before under a previous congress, but then-President Tabare Vazquez vetoed it.

Under the new measure, abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy becomes decriminalized, and becomes a procedure that clinics can carry out.

A Uruguayan seeking an abortion will first go to a doctor, who in turn will refer her to a panel that includes gynecologists, psychologists and social workers who must explain all of the possible outcomes, the bill states.

There is a five-day waiting period afterward, and if the woman still seeks an abortion, the procedure will be carried out immediately, according to the measure.

Uruguay will join Cuba as the only Latin American countries where abortion is legal outside of cases of rape, incest of danger to the mother's life.

Uruguay has been at the vanguard of the liberalization of social policies that traditionally have been influenced by the Catholic Church. In 2009, the country became the first in Latin America to allow same-sex couples to adopt children.

Uruguay is also proposing a law that would legalize marijuana.

      CNN Recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.