September 27, 2012 — Uruguay's Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday voted 50-49 to decriminalize abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy for all women and up to 14 weeks in cases of rape, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. The measure also would allow abortion after 12 weeks in cases of fetal anomaly or when the woman's health is at risk.
Abortion-rights supporters criticized the compromises made to secure the bill's passage, including requirements that a woman have lived in the country for at least a year in order to obtain an abortion and that women go before a review panel of at least three professionals -- a gynecologist, psychologist and social worker -- and hear advice about adoptions and support services. Women must then wait five days "to reflect" on the consequences of having an abortion.
The measure also requires parental consent for minors, unless they get approval from a judge, and allows health care providers to refuse abortion care.
President Jose Mujica said he will allow the measure to take effect if the Senate approves it. The Senate previously approved a less restrictive version of the bill.
Deputy Pablo Abdala of the National Party pledged on Wednesday to push for a popular referendum to overturn the law if Mujica allows it to become law. Catholic and evangelical institutions -- which provide much of the nation's health care -- also oppose the bill. However, polling suggests it is supported by the majority of Uruguayans (Fernandez, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 9/26).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership