(Image source from: The Telegraph)
Argentina's Senate has rejected a bill to legalize elective abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
A debate among lawmakers for over 15 hours took place and voted 31 in favor to 38 against, despite the fact opinion polls showed the legal abortion bill had strong public support
According to female activists who supported the bill, pressure from the Catholic church prevented its approval.
Argentina is the homeland of Pope Francis.
"The church put pressure on senators to vote against the bill," said Ana Correa, an original member of the #NiUnaMenos ("Not one woman less") feminist movement that supported the bill.
The measure has already been passed by the lower house and President Mauricio Macri said he would sign it.
The rejection bill mean that termination would solely be legal in the case of rape and danger to the life of the woman.
Mariela Belski, Argentina's Amnesty International director, said: "A survey we did this year showed 60 percent support for an abortion law."
On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of people, for the most part, women braved a cold and showery night to stand vigil outside Congress on Wednesday while the votes were counted inside.
Contempt the concluding consequence of the vote, galore women said they believed Argentina would have legal abortion sooner or later.
"I'm still optimistic. It didn't pass today, but it will pass tomorrow, it will pass the next day," said abortion rights supporter Natalia Carol, 23. "This is not over."
A group of secondary school students with a megaphone in hand chanted: "Beware, beware, machistas (chaunvinists) beware, all Latin America will be feminist."
Argentinian-born Pope Francis has made no secret of his opposition to the bill. The Clarin daily newspaper on Monday reported the pope has asked anti-abortion legislators to pressure fellow lawmakers to reject the bill.
"This would be the first time a law is passed in democratic Argentina permitting the elimination of a human being by another human," Monsignor Oscar Ojea, president of Argentina's synod of bishops, said in homily at the Basilica of Our Lady of Lujan, one of Argentina's leading pilgrimage sites, last month.
Though the law as it stands also lets abortion when there is a peril to the woman's health, some of Argentina's 23 provinces have enforced this third case.
By Sowmya Sangam