After more than two years of controversies, the lawmakers in Chile voted yesterday to reduce the stern limitation placed on abortion.
The pro-choice supporters were pleased with the outcome of the vote, because they have fought for decade to remove the ban placed on abortion. Abortion has been illegal in Chile since 1989 without exception.
Augusto Pinochet, who was a dictator during his term, place the stern limitation on abortion as his last duty in the office, which was heavily criticized by the activists.
A Human Rights Watch reported that “The illegality of abortion in Chile takes a devastating toll on women’s health and lives,” “The consequences of illegal abortion constitute a leading cause of maternal mortality in this country.”
The bill passed on Wednesday has legalized abortion in the presence of rape, if the mother’s life is at risk as a result of the pregnancy and, if the fetus displays a deadly birth defect.
Chile’s minister of women and gender equity, Claudia Pascual Grau said:
“A bill has been approved that opens up options for women.
“We have generated safe health benefits, an accompanying program that is with all women, regardless of the decision they take.”
Chile’s lower Congressional house, the Chamber of Deputies, had 70 votes in favor, 45 votes against and 1 abstention. The Senate approved the bill by 22 votes in favor and 13 against.
The vote is a success for President Michelle Bachelet who ruled Chile from 2006-2010, because she initiated the campaign for the reduction on the strict law made against abortion.
“Today women recover a basic right that we should never miss: decide when we live moments of pain,” President Bachelet said in a tweet after the vote.