Argentine President presents new bill to Congress to legalize abortion

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Argentine President Alberto Fernandez announced on Tuesday that he is presenting a new bill to legalize abortion in Congress, reopening a debate that has bitterly divided the traditionally Catholic South American nation.

The announcement sparked celebrations among thousands outside the Congress building, who rallied around a plan to impose additional taxes on the wealthy to subsidize Argentinathe creaky health care system.

Fernandez made the announcement in a video message on her Twitter account, saying the bill would ensure “that all women have access to the right to comprehensive health care.”

Argentinian society is deeply divided on the issue of abortion.

After years of protests, Congress began a historic debate in 2018 under the leadership of then-president Mauricio Macri, which ended with the Chamber of Deputies voting to legalize abortion, only so that the Senate rejects it.

Fernandez promised in March to introduce a new bill to legalize Abortion but that was put on hold when the country went into lockdown for the coronavirus.

Fernandez, who ousted Macri in last year’s election, said a separate bill would help poorer families avoid having to resort to abortion for economic reasons.

This would provide “a 1000 day insurance policy, with the aim of strengthening comprehensive care during pregnancy and for children in the first years of life.”

In Pope Francis’ homeland, abortion is punishable by up to four years in prison and is only permitted in cases of rape or if there is a risk to the mother’s life.

Lawmakers began debating on Tuesday imposing a 2% tax on more than 9,000 of Argentina’s biggest fortunes, which is expected to provide more than $ 3 billion for health care and other projects to help families affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

Argentina has more than 1.3 million coronavirus infections and more than 35,000 deaths from the disease.

(AFP)


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