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Chile abandons complete ban on abortion, pro-abortionists complain changes don’t go far enough

by | Aug 31, 2017

By Dave Andrusko

A pro-life activist places a child’s pacifier on the Chilean flag at a protest outside the country’s constitutional court (Getty Images)

Surprise, surprise, pro-abortionists are dissatisfied with changes that liberalized Chile’s very protective abortion laws.

On August 3, the nation’s Chamber of Deputies voted to allow abortion when a woman’s life is in danger, when the unborn child has a negative prenatal diagnosis, or when a pregnancy results from rape. The vote was 70 to 45. (The measure had previously passed the Senate.)

But the law’s fate –and that of countless unborn children–rested in the hands of Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal. Opponents pointed to Article 19 of Chile’s Constitution that explicitly guarantees the life of the unborn child.

However, on August 21, the Constitutional Tribunal rejected their argument. The New York Times reported

In a statement, the Roman Catholic conference of bishops in Chile said the ruling, which cannot be appealed, “offends the conscience and common good of our citizens.”

“We are before a new situation in which some unborn human beings are left unprotected by the state in this basic and fundamental right,” the statement said.

The Catholic Herald UK gave a fuller account of the opposition’s response. It quoted the remarks of Cristóbal Aguilera, legislative advisor of the organisation Community and Justice, to ACI Prensa

that opponents of the abortion law will continue fighting to make sure the law is restricted as much as possible in practice.

Patricia Gonnelle, legislative coordinator of ‘Chile es Vida’, described the verdict as a “historic mistake” and a “very sad day”.

She added it was “very serious” that the law now says the child in the womb is “not a person with rights”. However, she said that pro-life organisations “will carry on doing what they always do, which is helping women in situations of conflict and much pain, which they have always done for many years.”

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who made changing the country’s abortion law a major priority for her administration, hailed the 6-4 decision as a victory for “tolerance,” saying “the decision fulfilled a fundamental commitment of our government with the women in our country.”

But the pro-abortion site rewire, lamented, ”The number of women who will directly benefit from this law is sure to be small.”

From M. Antonia Biggs’ perspective, the good news is that El Salvador “ is considering easing its complete abortion ban as well.”