Buenos Aires Times

argentina ABORTION DEBATE

Peña reiterates that Macri won't veto abortion law

Influential Cabinet chief responds to questioning after renewed calls from Church leaders over the weekend calling on president to veto legislation that decriminalises abortion.

Tuesday 10 July, 2018
Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña speaks to reporters.
Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña speaks to reporters. Foto:CEDOC

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Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña has reiterated that President Mauricio Macri will not veto a bill to legalise abortion, should legislation to that end be approved in both chambers of Congress.

"The president has been clear about his conviction over the importance of having a republican debate, which implies respecting the result and, of course, not vetoing the law,"  Peña said, after hosting ministers at Government House. 

Peña, one of the most influential members of the government, was responding to questioning about renewed calls from the Catholic Church over the long weekend asking the president to reject any move to decriminalise the procedure.

The Cabinet chief described the Macri administration's relationship with the Church as "very good."

"We do not feel there is a conflict" for having promoted the debate on abortion, Peña insisted, saying the debate was part of the "development of the republican life of the country."

President Macri has previously said publicly he is "in favour" of life but would not veto legislation on abortion.

Debate on the bill opened in the Senate last week, with a final vote on the matter due to be held on August 8. 

Last month, the lower house backed a bill decriminalising abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, and beyond that in cases where the infant would not survive after birth, by 129 votes to 125. Previously, abortion was only legal in cases of rape or when the life or health of the mother was at risk.

Over the long weekend, the Church stepped up its calls for lawmakers to reject the bill. On Sunday, Church leaders joined anti-abortion activists at a 'Mass for Life' demonstration in front of the Luján basilica rejecting the bill.

Among those in attendance were Monsignor Oscar Ojea, the leader of the Argentine bishops' conference, Archbishop León Kalenga Badikebele, the papal representative in the country, the Archbishop of La Plata, Monsignor Víctor Fernández, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires Mario Poli.

In a fiery declaration, Ojea delivered a speech saying that if the bill were passed, it would be "the first time in a democratic Argentina in which a law that legitimizes the elimination of a human being for another one is passed” by Congress.

“Abortion is not a right but a tragedy,” he added, saying the country was at a "delicate moment."

- TIMES/AGENCIES

 

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