Abortion in Uruguay

The abortion in Uruguay is not penalized if satisfied within the first 12 weeks gestation and provided the woman meets the procedure laid down in the law passed in 2012. 1

Legislative history

Reformation of Irureta Goyena

The penal code of 1898 severely penalized the termination of pregnancy. In 1933 José Irureta Goyena promoted a reform of the penal code that made it possible for public hospitals to practice termination of pregnancy. This reform came into effect in October 1934. 2

Decree of Gabriel Terra

This authorization lasted very little, since, by means of a decree, the de facto president Gabriel Terra prohibited in 1935 the accomplishment of abortions to the public institutions. 2

Law 9.763

In 1936 abortion was classified as a crime by means of Law 9,763 . With the impulse given by Dr. Salvador Garcia Pintos , 3 the bill was written by the legislators of the Civic Union Dardo Regules and José Trabal , and negotiated with the traditional parties . The law was passed on January 28, 1938 with a vote of 25 lawmakers in 35.

This law was the one that regulated the practice of abortion until 2012, established that the penalty for a woman who performed an abortion , outside three to nine months in prison, and the penalty for a doctor or other person performing the procedure , From 6 to 24 months in prison. 4 A judge could mitigate the conviction of the woman in various circumstances. These circumstances included economic problems, risks to the health of women, rape or safeguarding family honor. 4

Only in 2002 the issue of the decriminalization of abortion would be resumed in the Uruguayan Parliament. In the process by the Chamber of Deputies, one project received a half-sanction (pending approval in the Senate chamber) with 47 votes in favor and 40 against. 11 deputies were not present. The Senate Chamber discussed the issue two years later in 2004. After two lengthy debate sessions in April and May, the initiative was rejected by 17 votes to 13.

Law of “Sexual and Reproductive Health” and presidential veto

In October 2007, the Senate Chamber discussed a new bill to decriminalize abortion. That month two sessions took place in which the law of “Sexual and Reproductive Health” was given a half sanction.

The November to November of 2008 , the Uruguayan Senate voted 17-13 to approve a bill that eliminated the penalties for those who engage in an abortion, which was effectively legalizing the practice of abortion. 5 However, this law was vetoed by President Tabaré Vázquez with the endorsement of the Minister of Public Health María Julia Muñoz , on November 14 of the same year. 6

New bill of 2011

Years later, on December 27, 2011 the Senate Chamber passed a bill for the decriminalization of abortion. The text of the project states:

Every adult woman has the right to decide to terminate her pregnancy voluntarily during the first 12 weeks of the gestational process.

Although the debate in the Chamber of Deputies was expected to continue in March or April of 2012, 7 problems to obtain the full votes of the Frente Amplio (which were necessary for the approval of the project) caused the project not to be dealt with . 8 In response to the refusal of space deputy Andres Lima to contribute to the bill, Frente Amplio began negotiations with the Independent Party, which had submitted another bill aimed at decriminalizing abortion to achieve the necessary majority in deputies. Referring to Fig.

Law of 2012

At dawn on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, the House of Representatives voted to conclude a Special Commission to analyze the draft Law on the decriminalization of abortion submitted by Deputy Iván Posada of the Independent Party . It contains a wording with which the ruling party has discrepancies, mainly Article 2 which specifies that those within the group of professionals who will advise the woman who wishes to interrupt her pregnancy should exist one with conscientious objections regarding abortion. 10 However, Posada stated that this section can be eliminated if it represents a problem to approve your project. eleven

In a session in deputies that began on Tuesday, September 25 and ended at dawn the following day, the project of Ivan Posada was approved in the Chamber of Deputies with the modifications introduced by Frente Amplio. 12 The bill finally became law on October 17, 2012 by being voted affirmatively in the Senate chamber with 17 votes out of 31.

Popular referendum on referendum referendum to annul the law

Main article: Popular referendum to convene a referendum against the decriminalization of abortion in Uruguay

In November 2012 it was announced by leaders of the opposition National Party that they would start a campaign to collect signatures in order to call a referendum to repeal the law that decriminalizes abortion. 13 Preliminary figures indicate that the consultation did not reach the required number of adhesions for a mandatory referendum to be called since there were around less than 10% of the total number of qualified persons when the required number was 25%. 14

With nearly all circuits surveyed, accessions to the popular consultation reached 8.88%, well below the 25% required to enable a mandatory referendum on this subject. 15 The promoters of the initiative continue to discuss the meaning of this result. 16

Polls of opinion

Opinion polls
Radar 17 From 1st to 20th June 2012 Decriminalize abortion: 51%, Do not decriminalize abortion: 42%, no opinion: 7%
Cifra González Raga & Asociados 18 4th and 13th of May 2012 Decriminalize abortion: 51%, Do not decriminalize abortion: 37%
Cifra González Raga & Asociados 19 Between 24 and 25 June 2000 Legalize, decriminalize abortion: 31, Legalize in some cases 7, Other measures 13, Prohibit abortions, close clinics 11
Cifra González Raga & Asociados 19 1998 Legalize, decriminalize abortion: 31, Legalize in some cases 5, Other measures 19, Prohibit abortions, close clinics 10, Do not know what action to take 35


  1. Back to top↑ Abortion law passed. The loser.
  2. ↑ Jump to:a b The Republic. “At the beginning of the last century, abortion was legal in Uruguay .” Consulted on 2011 .
  3. Back to top↑ Garcia Pintos and the right to life
  4. ↑ Jump to:a b Law 9,763
  5. Back to top↑ The Republic. “The President will veto tomorrow article 8 that decriminalizes abortion .” Consulted on 2011 .
  6. Back to top↑ The Republic. «Vázquez vetoed to decriminalize abortion: message enters the Parliament today» . Consulted on 2011 .
  7. Back to top↑ Spectator. “House of Senators approved the decriminalization of abortion .” Consulted on 2011 .
  8. Back to top↑ Xavier: “There is no vote for abortion”.
  9. Back to top↑ Decriminalization of abortion in Uruguay, becoming closer to being law.
  10. Back to top↑ Voluntary abortion.
  11. Back to top↑ Special Commission will analyze decriminalization of abortion.
  12. Back to top↑ Who voted for and who against abortion
  13. Back to top↑ Abortion: begins collection of signatures. Signature that signs you
  14. Back to top↑ They recognize defeat in voting. Voluntary interruption.
  15. Back to top↑ montevideo.com (June 24, 2013). “There will be no referendum on abortion. The club of the eight. ” . Retrieved on June 24, 2013 .
  16. Back to top↑ «Recalculating» . Gap . June 28, 2013. Archived from the original on November 30, 2015.
  17. Back to top↑ The Broad Front leads the voting intentions with 40%. 62% against the legalization of the sale of marijuana, and 51% in favor of decriminalizing abortion.
  18. Back to top↑ The Uruguayans and the abortion decriminalization.
  19. ↑ Jump to:a b Cifra González Raga & Asociados. «Dossier: Abortion in Uruguay» . Retrieved on December 30, 2011 .