Thousands of anti-abortion protesters held demonstrations across Argentina over the weekend, calling on the government to reverse its plans to further expand abortion laws.

Some 300,000 people, many of them Catholics and evangelicals, took to the streets of major cities with national flags and blue scarves, carrying signs that said “March for the Unborn” and “Save Both Lives”.

Approximately 150 civil society organisations also got behind the demonstrations, with the largest protest taking place in Buenos Aires at the Palace of the Argentine National Congress.

Jorge Gomez, executive director of Aciera, the Christian Alliance of Evangelical Churches of Argentina, called it a “spontaneous outpouring”.

He said it wrong to bring forward abortion legislation at a time when “Argentine society needs unity to solve structural problems such as poverty.”

The legislation is set to be debated this week by politicians, with President Alberto Fernandez firmly in favour of its passage through parliament.

Fernandez said the bill would mean “that all women have access to the right to comprehensive health care.”

Abortion is currently legal on grounds of rape, incest and medical emergencies, but this bill would legalise abortion-on-demand up to the 14th week of pregnancy.

This is the ninth time an abortion bill has come before the Argentine parliament, with the last bill being supported by the Chamber of Deputies in 2018, but then rejected by the Senate.

The National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortion has urged supporters of the law to “paint Argentina green in the coming weeks” as they seek expanded access to abortion.