Chilean Tribunal legalises abortions in some scenarios

The Constitutional Tribunal of Chile voted to legalise abortion in some situations, re-emphasising the right of Chilean women which was compromised 28 years ago.

Right-wing legislators counter the bill

Congress passed a bill this month, the bill advocating the need for abortion when the life of the mother is endangered; when the pregnancy is an outcome of rape; or when the fetus is not viable. Although the bill received a massive support and a high number of votes in the Congress, the right-wing legislators requested for review because the law would violate the protection of the unborn as the Constitution guarantees.

The judges upheld the new law and voted six to four to do away with the two requests filed by the right-wing legislators. The approval of the law came as a victory for President Michelle Bachelet, whose administration started the bill.

Speaking at a news conference, Ms Bachelet said tolerance has prevailed, and every woman can decide according to her principles, values, real options or religion. She continued to say that she feels happy as one of the basic commitments of their government with the females in their country has been achieved. Ms Bachelet said that the victory is coming after a lingered battle that has been fought with the forces of dialogue, democracy and getting over barriers that have made several women in the past not to overcome their suffering.

Groups celebrate the law

Just in the court premises, were groups advocating and opposing the bill. They demonstrated all these while when the court deliberated the issue. Several women were eager to hear the ruling on Monday and marched down few blocks away to the presidential palace to celebrate the victory.

Karen Espindola, a woman denied an abortion in the year 2008 expressed her feelings about the law. She said its right the court paid due respect to democracy. Espindola was denied an abortion, and she delivered a son with incurable diseases and lived only two years. She went on to say that it’s a good movement for women who are faced with dramatic conditions, they can now decide to terminate or continue with the pregnancy, other than being forced to act against their desire.

Under Chile’s 1931 health code, abortion was permitted in some scenarios but ceased to exist in 1989 under the administration of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. All the bills put up by legislators to legalise abortion as at 1991 was turned down.

A statement by the conference of Roman Catholic bishops stated the ruling that has no appealing works against the overall good of the citizens, as well the human-conscience. The statement pointed out that the law makes unborn human beings unprotected by the state in the fundamental right.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York, in the past 20 years, more than 35 countries have amended their constitutions to grant more access to abortion. Just before the legalisation, Chile stands out as one of the four American countries that declared a ‘No’ to abortion despite the circumstance. The other three countries are Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador.