Buenos Aires, Argentina, Oct 23, 2020 / 04:25 pm (CNA).- The Catholic bishops of Argentina have blasted a plan to introduce an abortion legalization bill in the country, saying it is “untenable and inappropriate” to prioritize abortion during an ongoing pandemic.
An advisor to President Alberto Fernández announced that an abortion legalization bill would be introduced in the legislature at the end of October, El Día newspaper reported.
Fernández, who took office last year, has pledged to legalize abortion in Argentina. The country currently allows abortion in cases when the mother’s life or health is in danger, or in cases of rape.
A legislative debate on the legalization of abortion was originally planned in March, but was postponed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Just as the dignity of life and the promotion of human rights are central concepts in an authentically democratic agenda,” the Catholic bishops’ conference said in an Oct. 22 statement, “the general public health situation…makes any attempt to introduce and discuss a law like this untenable and inappropriate.”
The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the state’s duty to care for the life and health of its people, the bishops said, and “not taking care of all lives, all Life, would be a very serious fault by a State that wants to protect its inhabitants.”
The bishops called for “political prudence” aimed at fostering unity in a wounded society.
“When the spirit of Argentines overcomes extreme situations with patience, ingenuity and hope –even in the face of families losing their loved ones; when we suffer from the humiliating increase in the number of ever poorer households; in a school year that left a large number of students on the sidelines and exposed the inequality of resources and means; when heroic healthcare workers, exhausted by superhuman effort, cry out to us to care for life; common sense – which abounds in ordinary people – reveals to us that there is no place to think about legislation that contradicts the discourse that says that taking care of all Argentines is a priority,” they said.
Other pro-life groups also criticized the plan to move forward with a legislative debate regarding abortion.
“Seriously, is abortion a priority in the middle of a crisis?” the group Prolife Unity said on social media. “Argentines need a State that takes care of them, that lifts them out of poverty and doesn’t abandon them. Abortion was not and is not a priority.”
Pro-life organizations have planned a pro-life caravan to drive by the Quinta de Olivos presidential residence on October 24 to protest the upcoming debate and possible legalization of abortion.