Uruguay's Congress is seemingly ready to legalize abortion, and in doing so will become only the second nation to pass the measure in the region, after Cuba, reports Fox News Latino.
President Jose Mujica has said he will allow the meausre to become law if approved by Senate. The measure will give women the right to a legal abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and decriminalize later-term abortions when the mother's life is at risk or when the fetus is so deformed that it's concluded it wouldn't survive after birth. In cases of rape, abortions would be legal during the first 14 weeks.
Politicians hope the measure would reduce the number of illegal abortions, which is estimated to be as high as 30,000 a year. Poll results found that more than half of Uruguayans would vote to legalize abortion if the measure were put to the people to decide, with 34 percent voting against it.
The measure also has stipulations that were seen as compromises, including listening to advice on alternatives and a reflection period before the procedure. The measure also allows for private health care institutions and providers to decline to perform the procedure.
Cuba is the only other country in Latin America where legal abortion is common (it has to happen in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy). Argentina and Colombia allow it only in cases of rape or when the mother's life is threatened. Colombia also allows abortion when there is proof that the fetus is malformed. Mexico City has legalized first-trimester abortions, but there are more restrictions in other parts of the country. For most Latin American countries, abortions are banned.
What do you think of Uruguay's (pending) measure of lawful abortion?