Pro-Abortion-Rights Activists Won in Ireland, But Not Argentina

Pro-Abortion-Rights Activists Won in Ireland, But Not Argentina
Efforts to loosen restrictive laws in the two Catholic-majority countries resulted in two very different outcomes.

Yasmeen Serhan
Aug 10, 2018

When Ireland voted in its historic referendum in May to overturn its decades-old ban on abortion, it looked as if more change could follow. If Ireland voted to liberalize abortion access, maybe Northern Ireland would be next. And after that, who knows? The Irish referendum proved that even a Catholic-majority country was ready to have the debate. Perhaps it wouldn’t be long before others would do the same.

Another vote on abortion did come three months later, this time to Argentina. But this Catholic-majority country decided differently. On Thursday, Argentina’s Senate voted down a bill to decriminalize abortion access in the country, where terminations are legal only in cases of rape or if the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the woman. The proposed legislation, which would have allowed women to seek an abortion within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, was supported by 31 lawmakers but rejected by 38. Two abstained.