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News > Latin America

Chilean Government Postpones Vote on Abortion Decriminalization

  • "My body, my decision," reads the ban of this Chilean woman. | Photo: EFE

Published 2 September 2015

In Chile, a woman who chooses to abort in any circumstance still risks up to five years in prison.

Following a meeting with various ministries, including Health and Justice, the government asked the legislative Health Commission on Tuesday to postpone Wednesday’s vote on the bill decriminalizing abortion in three circumstances, planned Wednesday.

Commission's president Juan Luis Castro (Socialist Party) said they will respond the government's request next Wednesday, while the bill should land in the lower chamber on Oct. 8.

The government has asked for an extra delay because predictions showed its coalition is divided over bill – an electoral promise of Michelle Bachelet, meaning it will not reach a majority of the vote.

RELATED: For a Global Fight For a Woman’s Right To Choose

Among the dissidents of the coalition, Christian Democratic Party has expressed concern about one of the three circumstances under which abortion would become legal in the country: if the fetus is the result of a rape. The two others – if the fetus suffers from deformation or if the mother's life is in danger – are less controversial.

Political analysts have suggested that this faction of the coalition was taking advantage of the current drop in popularity of Bachelet administration, which experienced the biggest demonstration since in power on Aug. 26 .

In Chile, a woman who chooses to abort – even if her own life in in danger, if her pregnancy is the result of a rape or if the fetus is considered non-viable– still risks up to five years in prison, like in only five other countries of the world: El Salvador, Nicaragua, Malta, the Dominican Republic and the Holy See in Rome.

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