Uruguay Senate Prepares Final Abortion Debate

Senators in Uruguay are preparing for a final debate on legalizing abortion.

The bill has already been passed in the Senate, but changes in Uruguay’s lower house have forced another vote on the measure, which President José Mujica has said he’ll sign.

The Uruguay law decriminalizes abortions, but requires women to justify themselves before a panel of experts. Women would then have to wait five days before receiving confirmation on whether they can go ahead with the procedure or not. Late-term abortions when the mother’s life is at risk or the fetus is deformed would also be decriminalized.

Panel members would include at least three professionals -a gynecologist, a psychologist and a social worker.

Cuba is the only other country in the region where women have access to first-trimester abortions. Colombia allows abortion when there is proof of fetal malformation. Mexico City legalized first-trimester abortions and Argentina’s Supreme Court recently approved a freed sex slave’s request to have the procedure.

According to The Guardian, Uruguay’s measure would allow women to have a legal abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In the case of rape, abortions would be legal during the first 14 weeks.

“It’s important that the woman who decides to have an abortion attend this meeting (with the panel of experts), where she will be informed about all the options, including alternatives that she is free to choose from,” said Iván Posada, the law’s writer, to the UK-based website.

Timing of the final vote is uncertain.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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