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News > Latin America

Chile: Opposition Introduces Bill to Legalize Abortion

  • Legislators and supporters of the bill to legalize abortions within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

    Legislators and supporters of the bill to legalize abortions within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. | Photo: Twitter/@Marce_Sandoval_

Published 22 August 2018

The bill will legalize abortions beyond the three grounds under which it is currently legal in Chile. 

Opposition legislators in Chile introduced a bill Tuesday to legalize abortions beyond the three grounds under, which it is currently legal. Protests in favor of and against the proposed legislation were held outside Congress.

Chileans March En Masse To Expand Legal Abortion Rights

Five legislators of the Broad Front, two socialists, two communists, a member of the Progressive Party and the Party for Democracy sponsored the bill written by Corporacion Humanas (Corporation Humans) and the Mesa Accion por el Aborto (Action Table for Abortion).

Camila Maturana, a lawyer of Corporacion Humanas, said the bill addresses a feminist demand and it is an invitation for society and parliament to debate the rights of women and girls. “The reality is that beyond the law, women have abortions in illegal, stigmatizing conditions that pose a risk to their lives, health, and personal liberty,” Maturana argued.

Socialist legislator Daniella Cicardini explained the bill establishes as term limit at the 14th week of pregnancy. “In any democratic country we have the possibility of deciding, women are not forced to interrupt their pregnancy within 14 weeks, that is the term limit we have established,” she said.

Maite Orsini of the Democratic Revolution Party said she hopes right-wing legislators will join their efforts, “just like it happened in Argentina… I hope the cavernous right-wing perspective that is insensitive to raped girls and poor women does not prevail in Chile.”

Argentina’s Fight for Abortion: Latin American Feminism Has Won

Independent Camila Rojas urged the government not to veto congressional debate with “authoritarian responses to democratic demands.” However, in July, interior minister Andres Chadwick warned “the President (Sebastian Piñera) fully opposes abortion and will use all constitutional means, as he has already said, in order to impede this to become law,” said.

Those comments were made in regards to a previously proposed bill by Senator Guido Girardi.  

In Chile, just in 2017, abortions became legal on three grounds: when pregnancy was the result of a rape, when the woman’s life is at risk, and when the fetus is non-viable.    

When conservative President Sebastian Piñera took office in March, his administration rolled back this right, announcing private clinics could refuse to carry out the procedure on the grounds of conscientious objection. Last week, Piñera signed a bill into law to create a civil registry for fetuses.

The bill to legalize abortion will face an uphill battle.

The right-wing and conservative party Independent Democratic Union announced they would present a reform to article 19 of the constitution to establish that “the law protects the life of the person to be born, from the moment of conception until natural death.”

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