In a deeply disturbing vote early Wednesday morning, and to truly bone-chilling celebrations in the streets, Argentina has become the largest Latin American country to legalize abortion-on-demand, doing so by a wider than anticipated margin.

After some 12 hours of passionate debate, and months of fervent debate across the country, the Argentinian Senate voted 38 to 29 with one abstention, to remove all protections from the youngest of human beings there. This new legislation, which Argentine president, Alberto Fernández, promised to sign into law, permits abortion for any reason through the first 14 weeks of life. It provides liberal exceptions beyond that. The New York Times reports, “The effects of the legalization vote are likely to ripple across Latin America.”

The vote was announced early this morning in the streets of Buenos Aires and the euphoric reaction to the legalization of this deadly procedure was nothing short of macabre.

Lila Rose, President of Live Action, called the vote and the wild celebrations “heartbreaking and evil” explaining, “These are children, sons and daughters, whose deaths are being celebrated. Lord have mercy.”

“I feel a profound sense of anguish that in this country that I love the right to life is not respected,” said Abigail Pereira, 27, a stalwart pro-life advocate who had taken to the streets in Buenos Aires. “But I will keep on fighting,” she promises.

Sixto Porras, Focus on the Family’s Vice President for Hispanic Ministry and Regional Director of Enfoque a la Familia explains, “We deeply regret this decision in Argentina,” adding, “The struggle took place in the streets on the part of the Church and it will continue.”

Just hours before the Senate took up the measure, Pope Francis who was born in Buenos Aires, reminded his fellow Argentinians and the world of the vulnerability of life in the womb, “The Son of God was born an outcast, in order to tell us that every outcast is a child of God. He came into the world as each child comes into the world, weak and vulnerable, so that we can learn to accept our weaknesses with tender love.”

Evangelical and Catholic leaders in Argentina called their nation to a day of prayer and fasting earlier this week to reflect on “the killing of so many innocent children” and “to implore for the respect and care of life to be born.”  Church leaders have been working diligently to mobilize pro-life citizens in Argentina leading up to this vote, holding large marches across the country and seeing previous victories. Just over 70% of Argentinians reject laws like this altogether.

Other Latin American countries have denounced Argentina’s vote. Ernesto Araujo, the Chancellor of Brazil, forcefully proclaimed,

“Brazil will remain at the forefront of the right to life and in the defense of the defenseless, no matter how many countries legalize the barbarism of indiscriminate abortion, disguised as reproductive health, social rights or whatever they want to call it.” 

Paraguay’s Congress recognized a moment of silence today in response to Argentina. Uruguay, Cuba, and Guyana are the only other Latin American countries that permit abortion on demand and Argentina narrowly defeated a similar bill just two years ago. It is expected that Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Chile will soon follow Argentina’s lead.