Opposition Fails to Force a Referendum on Uruguay’s Law Easing Access to Abortion
A bill decriminalizing abortion in Uruguay during the first three weeks of pregnancy will not be subject to a popular referendum. In October 2012, President José Mujica signed the bill into law, but the measure faced challenges from right-wing groups, including the Uruguay bishops’ conference, calling for it to be put to a vote among the people. The preliminary step of a vote requesting the referendum was held in June but failed by a wide margin, collecting less than half of the required ballots.
While women must have their applications for an abortion approved before a panel and are subject to a waiting period before the procedure, the law is still one of the most liberal in Latin America. “The fact that it wasn’t enough for a referendum clearly shows that the Uruguayan society is willing to continue moving forward,” the activist group Mujer y Salud en Uruguay (Woman and Health) said, according to the Associated Press.