By the Blouin News World staff

Chile’s total ban on abortions about to ease

by in Americas.

A pro-choice rally. (Source: Santiago Times/flickr)

A pro-choice rally in Santiago, Chile. (Source: Santiago Times/flickr)

On Thursday, Chile’s lower house of Congress took a major step towards ending the country’s total ban on abortions. Legislators approved a proposal that allows abortions in cases of rape, when there is a health risk for the mother, or when the fetus is not viable. The total ban dates back to 1989, one of the last acts of right-wing dictator Augusto Pinochet, but now over 70% of Chileans in this predominantly Catholic country support the new bill.

The bill overcame vigorous opposition from the right in the House of Deputies, and the legislative battle is not yet over. It still has to pass the Senate and be signed by the president (currently Michelle Bachelet, an ardent supporter of increasing Chilean women’s reproductive rights) to become law.

According to Bachelet’s administration, passing the bill would resolve 5% of the estimated 70,000 annual clandestine abortions carried out under risky conditions in Chile…

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