Argentina’s senate has rejected a bill which would have legalised abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
After a marathon debate, 38 senators voted against it and 31 in favour. Its defeat means lawmakers must wait until next year to resubmit legislation.
Currently abortion is allowed in Argentina only in cases of rape, or if the mother’s health is in danger.
Some pro-choice campaigners started fires and lobbed missiles at police in Buenos Aires after the vote.
Demonstrators on both sides of the debate had rallied outside parliament as voting took place.
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Anti-abortion activists have been jubilant. “It’s a joy to see that our society can be based on such an important principle as the defence of the most defenceless, the child,” said one.