Opposition PRO party lawmaker Silvia Lospennato has praised President Alberto Fernández's leadership of the drive to legalise abortion in Argentina and said she believes there are enough national deputies in favour of reform to see a bill pass through the lower house.
In an interview with a local radio station, the Cambiemos deputy said she believes "the numbers are good" in the lower house Chamber of Deputies and said that Fernández's backing of the bill and public comments on it were "a very important differential."
"The forcefulness in the words on March 1 [in the president's speech to Congress] show that, for the president, this is not another project on his legislative agenda. There is a personal conviction about the need for the law," said Lospennato, who became a figurehead of the pro-abortion reform movement after an impassioned speech to her fellow lawmaker in the failed 2018 bid to legalise the procedure in Argentina.
Amid speculation over the detail of the bill, the lawmaker revealed that her peers in the Frente de Todos coalition had told her the bill "follows in general terms what was half-approved" in 2018 in the Chamber of Deputies. (The bill eventually fell in the Senate.)
"If this is achieved, the bill is going to be dealt with the other initiatives and it will be easier to reach an agreement, " said Lospennato.
Quizzed about how the vote will go, the PRO lawmaker said she hoped "we are not suffering the emotional sub-delegation of whether a vote is added or subtracted until the last moment and hope that we will have the peace of mind of having a majority beforehand."
She added: "The numbers are good for us in [the Chamber of] Deputies, but we never trust ourselves: we have to wait for the debate to begin."
Finally, she acknowledged that she "of course" would have liked former president Mauricio Macri to have backed the 2018 legislative push as head of state.
"He opened the debate with a republican conviction, because it was a debate that democracy deserved, no matter whether it was against it or not," she said.
According to a survey carried out by the Parlamentario website, 120 deputies are in favour of abortion reform, while 103 are against it. Eight legislators remain undecided and another 24 have yet to define their position in public, according to the tally.