Chile: first step in abortion ban debate
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Chile: first step in abortion ban debate

Legislators in Chile’s lower chamber of Congress have voted in favor of advance a bill overturning the prohibition of abortions.

“This is not a measure to promote abortion: what we’re doing here is turning the state’s choice into a choice for women,” deputy Gabriel Silber, from the Christian Democratic party, commented.

“The vote reflects the opinion of a majority in Chile, which considers that its time to assume the reality of the more than 30,000 illegal abortions in the country every year,” Socialist party deputy Juan Luis Castro said.

Chile remains one of six countries worldwide with an outright ban on abortion.

Legislation introduced by General Augusto Pinochet during the last few years of his dictatorship, overruled previous health codes which permitted pregnancy terminations in cases of posing a risk to the mother’s life.

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Chilean President, and former head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet’s new proposals would allow women to abort if their life was in danger, the pregnancy resulted from rape or the fetus was unviable.

Bachelet made reproductive rights a key part of her presidency, following commencement of her second term as President in 2013.

“There are 17 rapes a day in Chile, and in many cases it is by family members,” Maria Ines Salamanca, Program Director of the United Nations Women office in Chile told The Guardian. “Many of these victims are underage … This is a debate that Chile needs to have.”

Shock Tactics

One Chilean NGO, Corporación Miles, launched a series of shocking adverts instructing women how to abort.

“Choose a car which is just starting to accelerate, be sure you are hit head on – stomach first.” The first pregnant woman says, before stepping out in front of a car.

The Youtube videos have now gone viral in Chile.

“The videos are shocking, they are violent, but what we are trying to do is provoke discussion, at home, amongst families, we want to make people debate.” Claudia Dides, head of Corporación Miles comments during the video.

The NGO has also created a video showing women how to abort using high heeled shoes.

Although much still remains to be discussed, there is finally hope, at least, for millions of Chilean women.

See more:

Chile’s President Bachelet unveils latest attempt to reform dictatorship-era abortion law

Raped, pregnant and denied a life-saving abortion-all at ten years-old

In El Salvador, abortion laws turn pregnant women into criminals