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Abortion rights activists protest outside Congress as senators debate the landmark bill on whether to legalize abortion in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Tuesday. Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP via Getty Images

Senators in Argentina voted early Wednesday to legalize abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy by 38 votes to 29, with one lawmaker abstaining.

Why it matters: The predominantly Catholic country is the largest Latin American nation to vote to legalize elective abortion. President Alberto Fernández has already pledged to sign the bill into law.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Argentina is the birthplace of Pope Francis, who has previously voiced opposition to abortion, likening the procedure to hiring a "hitman."
  • The pope weighed into Argentina's debate the day before the vote, "praising a women's group from impoverished neighborhoods for its activism against abortion," the New York Times reports.

Details: Thousands of pro- and anti-abortion protesters waited outside Argentina's Congress as lawmakers debated the measure for some 12 hours.

  • Under the bill, exceptions to the elective 14-week abortion limit will be made in cases of rape and in regards to the health of a pregnant woman.

The big picture: Latin America is known for its socially conservative views on abortion, with Uruguay Guyana and Cuba the only nations in the region to permit abortions upon request.

  • Abortions were previously only allowed in Argentina in order to save a woman's life or in cases of rape or incest. Argentine senators have voted against nine abortion bills over the past 15 years, the Washington Post notes.
  • The Roman Catholic Church's domination in the country is decreasing as a feminist movement continues to rise, the NYT notes.

What to watch: Pro-abortion rights momentum is building in Latin America and Argentina's vote may influence other countries in the region to introduce similar measures, per the Times.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Biden rescinds anti-abortion "global gag rule"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday rescinded the "global gag rule," a policy that bans international organizations that receive U.S. funding from providing abortion services or offering information about abortion.

Why it matters: The Reagan-era rule, also known as the Mexico City policy, has historically been rescinded or rolled back by Democratic presidents and reinstated by Republican ones. The Trump administration also expanded the rule to include virtually all global health aid.

By the numbers: Leaving House

Expand chart
Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) is the latest House lawmaker to announce he won't seek re-election next year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 13, compared to nine Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.