A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Uruguay president vetoes legislation decriminalizing abortion

[JURIST] Marcello Casal Jr/ABr Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez [official website; BBC profile] on Friday vetoed [text, PDF, in Spanish] legislation that would have partially decriminalized abortion [JURIST news archive] in the country. The bill was passed [JURIST report] by Uruguay's Senate [official website, in Spanish] on Tuesday, after the House of Representatives [official website, in Spanish] approved it last week. Under the draft legislation, a mother would have been able to terminate her pregnancy during the first 12 weeks to prevent risks to her health, birth deformities, economic hardship, or other family problems. Vazquez wrote:

There is consensus that abortion is a social evil to be avoided. However, in countries that have liberalized abortion, they have increased. In the United States in the first ten years it tripled, and the figure remains: the custom was installed. The same thing happened in Spain.
While the measure passed the Senate by a vote of 17-13, 19 votes in the Senate are needed to overcome a veto. AP has more. From Montevideo, El Pais has local coverage, in Spanish.

Last November the Uruguayan senate passed a similar bill [JURIST report], but that measure did not survive presidential veto either. Uruguay is similar to most Latin American countries in having restrictive abortion laws. Abortion is completely illegal in Nicaragua [JURIST report], Chile, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic [HRW reports]. Brazil [HRW report] permits abortion when a mother's life is endangered or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. In countries such as Colombia [JURIST report] and Argentina [HRW report], criminal penalties may be decreased when the mother's life is at risk. Although Mexico City legalized abortion [JURIST report] in some circumstances in April, it is still illegal in the rest of Mexico [HRW report]. Cuba [ISP report] is the only country in the region in which abortion is not illegal.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.