Uruguay's Senate approved an abortion law on Wednesday which will allow Uruguayan women to have abortion in first trimester of pregnancy. With the final approval of President Jose Mujica, Uruguay will become the second nation in Latin America where abortions would be legal. According to the law, women can have abortion for any reason during first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The law was approved by Uruguay's 31-members Senate by a vote of 17-to-14 which was roughly approved previously, during the month of September.
Regardless of the opinion of some of the prominent political leaders of Uruguay, it was supported by President Jose Mujica. Along with Uruguay, other countries like Guyana, Cuba and some English-speaking nations in South America which have population less than 1 million, have also legalized abortion. The law allows women to abort fetus within first 3 months or 12 weeks of pregnancy in cases such as rape. Despite, if the woman is suffering from severe health risks, it would be permitted in the later term as well, according to the law.
In case of abortion, the woman will have to face a panel of 3 people where she will have to explain reasons behind her desire for abortion. The panel will comprise of a gynecologist, a mental health professional and a social worker. They will discuss abortion related health issues and risks with the desiring woman followed by waiting period of 5 days, before finally opting for the abortion. Women who opt for abortion outside margins of the new law will not have to face jail; however, the people who help such women in illegal abortions can face a jail of minimum 2 years.
Previously, there were no estimations about how many illegal abortions took place in Uruguay but it was observed that, hundreds of women ended-up with severe complications in hospitals every year. Therefore, chief objective of the lawmakers was to protect this huge number of women from adverse effects of illegal abortions. The legalization of abortion is probably one of the biggest steps in Latin America where only Cuba is the country which grants full abortion rights to women, though following several stringent conditions for abortion. Women now willing to terminate their pregnancy can openly opt for it rather than secretly following the illegal abortion procedures in Uruguay.