By Devin Watkins
Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies has voted in favor of a proposed law that would permit abortions to be carried out until the 14th week of pregnancy.
The lower house of Congress passed the bill with 131 in favor and 117 opposed on Friday. The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote, which is expected before the end of the year, in order to become law.
Bishop Alberto Bochatey, an auxiliary bishop of La Plata, spoke to Vatican News’ Marco Guerra about the vote.
The president of the Health Commission of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference said the country’s Bishops “thought the bill would have received even more support in the Chamber, so that was a surprise. It won’t go so smoothly in the Senate for those who support abortion, but we have to deal with a lot of pressure from lobby groups.”
Bishop Bochatey added that the legalization of abortion does not sit well with the overall culture of Argentina. Those less well-off, he noted, have always been in favor of procreation and have numerous children.
“This is not a law for the poor, but comes from a bourgeoise spirit which refuses to take responsibility for one’s actions,” he said.
Abortion negates responsibility
The Bishop pointed to Pope Francis’ recent letter to an Argentinian women’s network which works to protect the unborn. He wrote that “the problem of abortion is not primarily a question of religion, but of human ethics, prior to any religious denomination.”
Bishop Bochatey noted that the Pope spoke about “hired killers” who eliminate a human life in order to solve a problem.
“The Pope’s teaching is clear about our throw-away culture,” said the Bishop. “Legalizing abortion doesn’t solve anything. We must work in the fields of education and culture, and teach young people responsibility—especially young men.”
Coalition against legalization
Argentina’s lead Bishop on health issues then expressed his hopes that the pro-life cause will win out in the Senate when the abortion bill comes to a vote.
“In the Chamber we saw politicians of the right and the left, lay people, and Catholics—basically of all political leanings—vote against the bill,” said the Bishop. “We are comforted by the fact that many people who are not Catholic share our desire to protect life: many young girls and marginalized women believe that we need help from all levels.”
Pray and work to prevent bill passage
Bishop Bochatey concluded by making clear that Argentina’s Bishops and Catholic faithful will work hard to prevent the legalization of abortion.
“In the Senate, the difference in numbers of the two sides is even more razor-thin,” he said. “We need to speak with all Senators, pray, and make it known that the majority of Argentinians do not want abortion legalized.”