Argentina has now become the largest country in Latin America, and one of only a handful of South American nations to legalise abortion. after its senate approved the historic law change by 38 votes in favour to 29 against, with one abstention.
The heavily Catholic country, homeland of Pope Francis, held a debate that went on well past midnight and finally passed the bill, just over two weeks after the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Argentina’s Congress, narrowly approved the measure.
This historic announcement on Wednesday caused an eruption of celebration among pro choice campaigners who had been keeping vigil outside Buenos Aires’s neoclassical congressional palace. They waved their green flags that represented their campaign. Green smoke rose in the dawn light above the crowd.
"The emotion invades us, the work was a lot and the road to get here was long, but we got there," Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, minister of women, genders and diversity wrote Monday evening before the vote. "We have the opportunity to make history."
Up until thsi decision, argentine law had only allowed abortion when there was serious risk to the health of the mother or in cases of rape.
The Catholic church still argues that abortion violates the right to life.
Earlier Wednesday Pope Francis tweeted: "The son of God was born discarded to tell us that every person discarded is a child of God.
Monica Macha, a lawmaker with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, tweeted, “We did it sisters. We made history. We did it together. There are no words for this moment, it passes through the body and the soul.”
Fernandez himself reacted moments later: “Safe, legal and free abortion is law. Today we are a better society that broadens rights for women and guarantees public health.”
In Latin America, abortion is only legal in Cuba, Uruguay and Guyana, as well as Mexico City.