Argentine doctors protest legal abortion ahead of key vote

Source: Associated Press

By ALMUDENA CALATRAVA

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A campaign to expand legal abortions in the homeland of Pope Francis is bitterly dividing Argentines — and increasingly even the profession that would be asked to carry them out.

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Hundreds of physicians have staged anti-abortion protests as an abortion rights bill moves toward a vote in the Senate next week. Some have demonstrated while carrying fetus-shaped dolls and waving signs saying: “I’m a doctor, not a murderer.” At one recent protest, they laid white medical coats on the ground outside the presidential palace.

While the Doctors for Life activist group claims about 1,000 members — only a small fraction of the country’s physicians — its protests are feeding a debate in the profession as a whole about the move to legalize elective abortions in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Leaders of the prestigious Argentina Medical Society have endorsed the bill, which has already passed the lower house of Congress. They said it would help reduce deaths among the estimated 400,000 to 500,000 women who now receive clandestine abortions each year.

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