Argentina’s Senate voted on Wednesday to legalize abortion, a first for a big country in Latin America and a triumph for women’s rights campaigners achieved over the visceral objection of the Catholic Church. Abortion is extremely rare in a region where the Church has held cultural and political sway for centuries. Previously, it was allowed on demand only in Communist Cuba, tiny Uruguay and parts of Mexico.
Lawmakers in Argentina’s lower house have passed a bill that would legalize abortion in most cases, in a big step forward for the legislation that could set the tone for a wider shift across Latin America. The landmark bill, which needs approval from the country’s senate in a debate expected before the end of the year, allows for voluntary abortions to be carried out up to the 14th week of pregnancy.
Argentina’s Peronists swept back into power on Sunday, ousting conservative president Mauricio Macri in an election result that shifts Latin America’s No. 3 economy firmly back toward the left after it was battered by economic crisis. Argentina is one of the world’s top grain exporters, is stirring the energy world with its huge Vaca Muerta shale field and is on the cusp of restructuring talks with creditors over $100 billion in debt.
After months of debate, the Argentina Senate rejected to pass a bill to legalize abortions for pregnancies up to 14 weeks. The rejection comes despite overwhelming support from the public. Pro-choice activists believe pressure from the Catholic church prevented the bill’s passing. The vote defied the recent trend of predominantly Catholic nations increasing abortion accessibility.
A massive blackout left tens of millions of people without electricity in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay on Sunday in what the Argentine president called an “unprecedented” failure in the countries’ power grid. The country’s energy secretary said the blackout occurred at about 7 a.m. local time when a key Argentine interconnection system collapsed. By mid-afternoon nearly half of Argentina’s 44 million people were still in the dark.
Argentina asked for an early release of a $50 billion loan from the IMF, a move President Mauricio Macri claims is meant to instill confidence in the economy. This year the Argentinian peso lost more than 40% of its value against the US dollar. The IMF said it is studying Argentina’s request for early funding.
The Argentine Navy abandoned efforts to rescue crew members aboard a submarine missing for two weeks, Thursday. Some relatives of the missing crew members reacted to the news with anger. The father of a missing sailor commented that he wanted more information about the disappearance from the Navy, saying, ‘They lie to us.’
Argentine Navy officials announced, Thursday, that an explosion was recorded near the missing navy submarine’s last known location, hours after final communication was received. The explosion was detected by analysts from United States government using an international nuclear weapons monitor. Argentine Submarine, ARA San Juan, went missing off the coast of Patagonia with its crew of 44 earlier this month.
Signals were received by Argentina’s Defense Ministry, Saturday, from an Argentine Navy submarine with 44 aboard, missing since Wednesday. Though contact was not achieved, the signals give hope that members aboard the ARA San Juan are alive. The search continues, despite bad weather, with teams from several countries including United States Navy sending search ships.
A federal judge in Argentina indicted former Argentinian president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, on charges of treason and called for her arrest, for her alleged involvement in covering up possible Iranian engagement in the 1994 Buenos Aires bombing of a Jewish community center, Thursday. Kirchner called the charges politically motivated, as her supporters rallied in Buenos Aires.