Abortion rights added to Chile's draft constitution

A woman protests for abortion rights in Guatemala City on March 15, 2022.  In Chile, abortion is currently permitted only under three conditions: risk to the life of the mother, foetal non-viability and rape.

Photo credit: Photo | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Chile is drafting a replacement for the nation's Pinochet-era charter, and has approved the inclusion of language protecting the right to an abortion.
  • The text also guarantees that exercise of these rights should be "free of violence and interference by third parties.

Chile's Constitutional Convention, which is drafting a replacement for the nation's Pinochet-era charter, approved on Tuesday the inclusion of language protecting the right to an abortion.

With 108 votes in favour, 39 against and six abstentions, the convention approved the second paragraph of the draft's article on sexual and reproductive rights, which requires the State to provide "the conditions for a pregnancy, a voluntary termination of pregnancy, childbirth and maternity."

The text also guarantees that exercise of these rights should be "free of violence and interference by third parties, whether individuals or institutions."

Decriminalization of abortion

In Chile, abortion is currently permitted only under three conditions: risk to the life of the mother, foetal non-viability and rape.

Chile's Congress is debating the possibility of a broader decriminalization of abortion.

The Constitutional Convention is required to submit its final draft by July 4, after which Chileans will vote to keep or reject it.

If rejected, the Pinochet Constitution will remain in force.

"I am 52 years old. 47 of which without my mother, who lost her life during a septic abortion," said Loreto Vidal, a member of the Constitutional Convention, in a heartfelt speech during a debate on the text.

"For her and too many more there were no guarantees, security and protection. It is very easy to judge," added Ms Vidal.

The Constitutional Convention has already approved at least 56 articles, including one that declares Chile as a "regional, multinational and multicultural State."



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