[JURIST] 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.