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Argentina: Bishops about abortion law, “the pain of forgetting innocent people”. Let “alternative plans” be developed by Senate

“It is a decision that aggrieves us, as Argentinians. But the pain of forgetting and leaving out innocent people must turn into strength and hope, so that we can keep on fighting for the dignity of every human life”: This is one of the most powerful passages from the message published by the Argentinian Bishops Conference (Cea) after the Lower House passed a law, yesterday, that decriminalises voluntary termination of pregnancy. In the release, signed by the Executive Committee of CEA and by the Bishops Conference’s Lay and Family Life Committee, the Bishops point to “the need for a peaceful dialogue and for a reflection in the on-going parliamentary debate” and warn that “seeing the debate as an ideological fight will take us far from real people’s lives. If we try to impose our ideas or interests and to silence other voices, we keep making violence thrive in our social fabric”.

Unfortunately, the Bishops state, “no answers have been given yet to those women who have to carry an unexpected pregnancy, who are exposed to poverty, to social exclusion or to gender-based violence”. The law that was passed yesterday “will only produce a new trauma, abortion. We are still lagging behind”.

The Senate’s debate, the release goes on, “might be a chance to work out alternative plans that could respond to situations of conflict, while respecting the value of every life and of conscience”. CEA’s message goes on: “Lately, we have been able to acknowledge the weaknesses we have had in our pastoral job: full sexual education in our educational facilities, the fullest acknowledgement of equal dignity for men and women, and assisting women who have been involved in abortion or who have been affected by such trauma. These are all calls from real life that urge us to respond, as a Church”. At the end of the release, the Bishops thanked “the people who, with genuine respect for others, have expressed their ideas and beliefs, even when they differed from ours”, and proved to appreciate the honesty and courage of those who have admitted that every life is worthwhile and above all the Members of Parliament who have defended such outlook”. In addition, they hope that Our Lady of Lujan, “who experienced the uncertainty of an unexpected pregnancy”, may intercede for the Argentinian population, future mothers and unborn children.

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