Uruguay is joining Cuba as the second Latin American nation to legalize abortion in cases other than rape, incest and the life of the mother after the Senate passed a bill President Jose Mujica has vowed to sign.
Uruguay's Senate backed the measure Wednesday by a 17 to 14 vote. The lower house passed the legislation by a single vote on Sept. 26. Once signed by Mujica, abortion for women over the age of 18 in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy will be legal in the South American country for the first time since 1937. Former President Tabare Vazquez vetoed similar legislation in 2008.
Uruguay's move is a blow to the Catholic Church, which has long exercised influence over social policies in Latin America and opposed today's measure. Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia and Belize have also called for a fresh approach to the U.S.-led war on drugs, with Mujica backing moves to create the world's first government-run marijuana market.