Close

Donate today to keep Global Voices strong!

Watch the video: We Are Global Voices!

We report on 167 countries. We translate in 35 languages. We are Global Voices. Watch the video »

Over 800 of us from all over the world work together to bring you stories that are hard to find by yourself. But we can’t do it alone. Even though most of us are volunteers, we still need your help to support our editors, our technology, outreach and advocacy projects, and our community events.

Donate now »
GlobalVoices in Learn more »

Uruguay: Legislators Move Forward Bill to Depenalize Abortion

After 14 hours of intense debate on September 25, 2012, Uruguay’s Chamber of Deputies voted 50 to 49 in favor of depenalizing abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The bill is a modified version of a more liberal measure that had already been approved by the Senate. The bill now moves back to the Senate, which must approve the changes before President José Mujica can sign it into law.

Twitter was abuzz during the whole day as Uruguayans shared their opinions on abortion and the bill under debate.

Anthropology student Romina Da Rosa (@gothicmina) [es] wrote:

@gothicmina: #aborto wtf? no tengo decision sobre mi cuerpo. es aqui cuanto te das cuenta que el poder político tienen mas derecho sobre tu cuerpo que tu

@gothicmina: #aborto [abortion] wtf? I have no decision over my body. This is when you realize that politicians have more rights over your body than you do.

Sele Elola (@SeleElola) [es] admitted to having mixed feelings about the issue:

Anti-abortion banners in Montevideo, Uruguay: "Abortion=Death" and "No to murder!". Image by Pablo Flores on Flickr (January 26, 2012), under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Anti-abortion banners in Montevideo, Uruguay: “Abortion=Death” and “No to murder!”. Image by Pablo Flores on Flickr (January 26, 2012), under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

@SeleElola: Sentimientos encontrados: derecho a la vida vs. sociedad hipocrita, las ricas abortan y las pobres mueren #Aborto

@SeleElola: Mixed feelings: right to life vs. a hypocritical society, rich women have abortions and poor women die #Aborto

While Elisa Montero (@elisamontero15) [es] asked:

@elisamontero15: Nadie puede olbigar al hombre a ser padre, a lo sumo a que le tire unos pesos. Por Qué la mujer no debe tener opción? Pensemos bien#Aborto

@elisamontero15: No one can force a man to be a father, at most he has to give the child some money. Why shouldn't women have an option? Let’s think this through #Aborto

Meanwhile, Lu Peña (@lupena27) [es] tweeted:

@lupena27: Despenalización dl Aborto! A dnd vamos a parar? Xq no apostamos a la educación sexual ants de solucionar los problemas cn la vida de seres?

@lupena27: Depenalization of abortion! Where are we headed? Why don’t we focus on sexual education before solving problems with someone’s life?

Amid the heated online debate, Dra.T (@Aaguss23) [es] pleaded:

@Aaguss23: Gente PAZ no se está obligando a abortar, se está legalizando lo que existe y no va a dejar de asistir x más ilegal q sea #aborto

@Aaguss23: People PEACE, no one is forcing anyone to have an abortion, they are legalizing what already exists and what won’t stop existing whether illegal or not #aborto

In Feminicidio [es], a news site on gender issues, Noemí Garcia Cabezas explains that the bill “decriminalizes abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when the woman meets the following requirements”:

consulta con un médico, entrevista con un equipo multidisciplinario (ya existente por la ley 18.426 de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva), cinco días para reflexión y finalmente ratificación de su voluntad. En los casos de menores de edad, debe haber un consentimiento informado con la presencia de un adulto referente o bien con intervención de un juez que autorice la interrupción.

consultation with a physician, interview with a multidisciplinary team (already existing due to law 18.426 [es] of Sexual and Reproductive Health), five days for reflection and finally a ratification of her will. In the case of minors, there must be informed consent with the presence of an adult or with the intervention of a judge authorizing the interruption.

Abortion advocates are not completely satisfied with the bill. Noemi lays out their concerns:

[...] el nuevo proyecto si bien garantiza la no penalización de las mujeres que aborten voluntariamente siguiendo los pasos mencionados anteriormente, sigue considerando delito el aborto, por lo que sí tendrán el riesgo de penalización quienes no sigan los pasos establecidos por la norma y aborten (o practiquen el aborto de otras) de forma clandestina

[...] although the new bill ensures the non-criminalization of women who abort voluntarily following the above steps, it still considers abortion a crime, so women would face the risk of penalty if they don’t follow the steps required by the law and abort (or practice abortion on others) in a clandestine manner

She continues quoting Lilián Abracinskas, director of pro-abortion organization Mujer y Salud en Uruguay (Woman and Health in Uruguay, MYSU for its initials in Spanish):

Legal Abortion Uruguay campaign logo

Legal Abortion Uruguay campaign logo, via Twitter user @hacelosvaler

La Coordinadora por el Aborto Legal de Uruguay considera que se debería modificar el Código Penal para que el aborto no sea delito hasta las 12 semanas de gestación si se realiza por decisión de la mujer o fuera de ese plazo cuando el embarazo sea producto de una violación, sea riesgoso para la mujer o el feto presente malformaciones incompatibles con la vida

The Coordinator for Legal Abortion in Uruguay [es] thinks that the Criminal Code must be modified to ensure that abortion is not a crime until 12 weeks of pregnancy if done under the woman’s decision or outside this term when the pregnancy is the result of rape, a risk for the woman or if the fetus presents malformations incompatible with life

Noemí also points out that according to abortion advocates, the ultimate goal of the new bill is to discourage abortion by establishing requirements that actually become barriers and which question women’s ability to make responsible decisions.

While legislators debated the bill, activists from MYSU protested with a “bodypainting performance” outside the Legislative Palace to manifest their dissatisfaction with the bill, as newspaper El Observador [es] reports.

Twitter users followed the debate via live stream [es] and shared opinions as legislators presented their arguments in favor or against the bill.

Cecilia Lucas (@cecilucas) [es], who describes herself as a feminist on her Twitter bio, wrote:

@cecilucas: #Aborto me encantaría los conservas defiendan a los niños, niñas y adolescentes con igual fervor que al “concebido no nacido”

@cecilucas: #Aborto I would love to see conservatives defending boys, girls and adolescents with the same fervor that they defend the “unborn conceived”

Emilia Yordi (@EmiliaYordi) [es], who is against abortion, tweeted:

@EmiliaYordi: Q pena q se vota más por convicción partidaria q por sus propias convicciones. Legisladores no se laven las manos. #aborto

@EmiliaYordi: How sad that they are voting more on party conviction than on their own convictions. Legislators don’t wash your hands on this. #aborto

Veronica Cortabarría (@Vecort1577) tweeted about the debate extensively. In one of her tweets she said:

@Vecort1577: La disciplina partidaria en temas de estado NO político como el #Aborto se reduce a CIEGA OBEDIENCIA

@Vecort1577: Party discipline on NON political State issues like #Aborto [abortion] becomes BLIND OBEDIENCE

After a long day of debate, late on September 25 newspaper El Observador (@ObservadorUY) [es] reported through its Twitter account:

@ObservadorUY: La despenalización del aborto fue votada en general con 50 votos a favor. 49 del Frente Amplio y el diputado del PI, Iván Posada

@ObservadorUY: The depenalization of abortion was voted at large with 50 votes in favor. 49 from the FA [Broad Front] and one from PI [Independent Party] deputy, Iván Posada

World regions

Countries

Languages