Argentina’s senate has rejected a bill to legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Lawmakers debated for more than 15 hours and voted 38 against to 31 in favour, despite the fact opinion polls showed the bill had strong public support.
Pressure from the Catholic church prevented its approval, according to female activists who supported the bill. Argentina is the homeland of Pope Francis.
“The church put pressure on senators to vote against the bill,” said Ana Correa, an original member of the #NiUnaMenos (“Not one woman less”) feminist movement that supported the bill.
The lower house had already passed the measure and President Mauricio Macri had said he would sign it.
Rejection of the bill means that abortion remains legal only in the case of rape and danger to the life of the woman.
“Senators and anti-rights can go to sleep pleased that they saved the lives of people who literally speaking do not exist and pleased that they fought
for women to keep dying,” tweeted Malena Pichot, a well-known comedian and legal abortion activist.