Argentina’s lower house of Congress has approved a landmark government-backed bill to legalize abortion Friday morning, a big step forward for the legislation that could set the tone for a wider shift in conservative Latin America.

In an extraordinary session, the Chamber of Deputies of Argentina passed the bill with 131 votes in favor, 117 against and 6 abstentions. The bill now moves to the senate for a debate and vote.
Currently, abortion in Argentina is only legal in cases of rape or lethal threat to a woman’s life. The proposed law could legalize abortion in all cases up to 14 weeks.
If passed by the Senate, Argentina, the birthplace of Pope Francis, will be one of the first major South American countries to legalize abortion.
“This is a fundamental step and recognition of a long struggle that women’s movements have been carrying out in our country for years,” Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, the government’s Women, Gender and Diversity minister, said after the vote.
“We are going to continue working so that the voluntary termination of pregnancy becomes law.”