Photo via Camara de Diputados

National Deputy for the Río Negro Province María Emilia Soria introduced this week a bill aimed at creating a registry of deceased fetuses, which would list “those that passed away inside the maternal womb, whatever the cause of death was, including the cause of death, age and weight they had at the moment of expulsion.”

The initiative evokes the bills introduced in different states in the United States that would have basically forced women to hold funerals for fetuses – remember the one that US Vice President Mike Pence signed as Governor of Indiana, which would do exactly that but was blocked by a federal judge for violating women’s right to choose? – although in this case the inclusion in the registry would happen should it be requested by “any of the parents.”

The fetus would be included in the registry within a year “of the lifeless birth” and the presentation of a medical certificate issued by a doctor or obstetrician would be required. Moreover, the bill would have the state provide a certificate including “the gender (if possible to determine), age, birth,” and it will also be mandatory for the parents to pick a name for the deceased fetus.

“The idea for abortion to be free, legal and safe does not mean it will be mandatory. If you don’t want to have one, don’t, but respect those who do. Same thing happens with the registry of fetal deceases. If you don’t want to register someone that was born lifeless, don’t, but respect those who want to,” reads the tweet.

Soria claims to be in favor of decriminalizing abortion, but she’s not in favor of the bill introduced by the campaign for free, legal and safe abortion.

“I don’t support the campaign’s bill. I believe we are being pushed to a debate that the bill does not solve. I support the Uruguayan abortion bill, where the state is present by providing sex education and informing about birth control methods. Without that, and pre and post abortion support for women, it’s hard [for her to support the bill,” she said in an interview with Página 12.

In fact, Soria presides the Lower House’s special committee on Constitutional Affairs, one of the four where the bill will be first debated (there it will have to get enough votes to make it to the floor.) “When the session with all four commissions is called, we will debate how to improve the bill that was introduced. I will attempt to get [parts of the Uruguayan law] included and I am sure we will be a strong force trying to make it happen,” she said.

Moreover, she said her initiative doesn’t clash with the one to decriminalize abortion, as both “generate more rights.”

She had already introduced the bill in 2016. It did not prosper.