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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (ChurchMilitant.com) - Argentine lawmakers have said no to decriminalizing abortion.
In a 38 to 31 vote in the early hours of Thursday morning, the Argentine Senate rejected a bill that would have legalized abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. The vote came after some 15 hours of debate.
Abortion is currently illegal in Argentina in most circumstances, except when the pregnancy results from rape, when the mother's life is at risk or the unborn child is deemed "inviable."
When the Senate results were announced, thousands of pro-lifers celebrated in Buenos Aires outside Congress. A video shared on Facebook by ABC News shows pro-lifers cheering, waving flags and shooting off fireworks.
There were also thousands of pro-abortion activists in Buenos Aires awaiting the Senate vote. The pro-life crowd and pro-abortion crowd were separated by a series of barriers that left a vast no-man's land between the opposing demonstrations.
When the results were announced early Thursday morning, some members of the pro-abortion crowd descended into a violent clash with the police.
In the leadup to the Senate vote, hundreds of doctors, hospitals and medical groups in Argentina voiced their opposition to the abortion bill via protest. One of their concerns was that the bill lacked conscience protections for medical workers — potentially putting them in a situation where they would face jail time for refusing to help women obtain abortions.
When the abortion bill was approved by Argentina's lower house on June 14, vast crowds of pro-abortion activists celebrated in the streets. The scene was reminiscent of the lavish pro-abortion festivities in Ireland in May, when the Irish voted to overturn a constitutional amendment protecting the right to life of the unborn.
Pushing to decriminalize abortion in Argentina are radical feminists, known for violent, topless demonstrations in the country. Radical feminist rallies have tried to attack the nation's Catholic churches on several occasions. Counterprotesters often surround the church being targeted, linking arms and praying the Rosary in an effort to prevent graffiti and sacrilege.
For years now, pro-abortion efforts in Argentia have had the backing of Soros-funded activist groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
In fact, pro-abortion groups threatened to burn down Catholic churches during the Senate deliberations on the abortion bill. In response to the threat, security forces barricaded the cathedral in Buenos Aires.
Pope Francis was previously the archbishop of Buenos Aires. Reports say he told Argentine lawmakers to do what they could to block the legalization of abortion.
Clarin, Argentina's largest newspaper, ran a headline on Thursday saying, "The Church, the key player that managed to stop the law."
A piece from The Guardian covering the abortion vote complained that the Catholic Church played an important role in halting the bill: "In great swaths of the world, the Catholic church is a force to be reckoned with. The vote in the Buenos Aires senate is the latest example of that."
During the Senate deliberations on the abortion bill on Wednesday, there was a Mass for Life offered at the Buenos Aires cathedral. Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli said in his homily at the Mass for Life that abortion "will always be a tragedy" and is "far from being a solution," saying that lawmakers ought to "safeguard the right to life of all, especially the weakest and most vulnerable."