Senators in Argentina have voted against expanding abortion laws, rejecting outside pressure to weaken the current largely pro-life position.
Following the vote, of 38-31, one campaigner said: “It’s a joy to see that our society can be based on such an important principle as the defence of the most defenceless, the child”.
Supporters and opponents of the current law had marched in their thousands before the vote, but afterwards pro-abortion activists started fires and threw missiles at police.
Abortion always kills a child and it doesn’t solve the woman’s problem.
Argentina’s lower house backed the legislation – which would have introduced abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy – after the President called on politicians to consider it.
But it was narrowly defeated in the country’s upper house after a 16-hour debate. Further legislation can only be re-submitted next year.
Camila Duro, a pro-life campaigner, told the BBC: “The message that we wanted to put across is that abortion equals social failure. For a woman to resort to it, many other things need to have failed first.”
And Maria Castillo, who protested outside parliament, said: “Abortion always kills a child and it doesn’t solve the woman’s problem. We believe that this is never the solution.”
Amnesty International had made major efforts to sway politicians, even taking out a full page advert in the New York Times.
Afterwards it claimed politicians had “missed a historic chance to be leaders on human rights”.
The result means that abortion continues to be allowed in cases of rape and if there is a danger to the life of the woman.
Officially Argentina also permits abortion when there is risk to the woman’s health, but few of its local provinces have implemented this.