Argentine senators rejected a bill to legalize abortion after an impassioned debate ran into the early hours of Thursday, pushing back against a groundswell of support from a surging abortion rights movement.
The Senate voted 38 to 31 against the proposed measure, which would have legalized a woman’s right to seek an abortion into the 14th week of pregnancy. The bill had narrowly passed in the lower house in July.
Families and clergy in baby-blue bandanas gathered outside the congressional palace as the result came in just before 3 a.m., waving Argentine flags in support of the Catholic Church’s anti-abortion stance in Pope Francis’ home country.
“What this vote showed is that Argentina is still a country that represents family values,” anti-abortion activist Victoria Osuna, 32, told Reuters.
Current Argentine law only permits abortions in cases of rape, or if the mother’s health is at risk.