Thousands of Argentinian pro-lifers gathered Sunday to pray that the nation does not pass a law that would legalize abortion up to 14 weeks in pregnancy.
The gathering took place at Argentina’s most famous shrine, the Shrine of Our Lady of Lujan, where Bishop Oscar Ojea made remarks to the onlooking crowd. “Abortion is not a right but a tragedy,” he said according to Crux. Argentina’s papal representative, Archbishop León Kalenga Badikebele, also attended the mass.
Ojea described the nation as hanging in a “delicate moment” while it decides what course it will take regarding its abortion laws. “A bill that legitimizes the elimination of a human being by another human … is not the solution for anybody,” Badikebele also said.
The gathering comes after Argentina’s lower house of Congress voted 129 to 125 to legalize abortion until 14 weeks in pregnancy on June 14. The bill allows women to have abortions after 14 weeks in cases of rape or where the mother’s health is in danger. A minor who was raped would also be allowed to abort without having to inform her parents or the authorities under the proposed bill.
“This is a great day for all women. Women are proud to be taking this step,” Silvia Lospennato, a lawmaker who voted for the bill, said after it passed the lower house. “Women are going to fight for equality, whatever it costs.” (RELATED: Argentina Congress Votes To Legalize Abortion Up To 14 Weeks)
Like in Ireland, the proposed legislation would mandate that privately owned Catholic hospitals perform abortions without exception. Exceptions would be given only to individual conscientious objectors.
Pope Francis did not comment on Argentina’s upcoming vote, however, he did condemn abortion generally. “We do the same as the Nazis to maintain the purity of the race, but with white gloves on,” the Argentinean pope said on June 16 in an address to the Forum of Family Associations on its 25-year anniversary, according to USA Today.
Argentina’s Senate will debate whether to pass the legislation on Aug. 8.
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