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Chile Moves Toward Easing Abortion Ban

Since 1989, abortion has been prohibited under any circumstance in Chile due to a law enacted under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.  This week, legislators took a key step toward easing the country’s draconian policy.

As reported by Reuters, Chile’s Health Commission voted eight to five to advance President Michelle Bachelet's groundbreaking proposal to allow women access to safe and legal abortion services in cases of life-endangerment, sexual violence, and fatal fetal impairments.

Chile is currently one of only six countries worldwide to ban abortion in all circumstances.

Reuters quotes health commission deputy Gabriel Silber as saying “what we’re doing here is turning the state’s choice into a choice for women” as he voted for the reform.

Next, the measure, which has stirred much debate in the legislature, will face another vote in the health commission on whether to advance the law as proposed by President Bachelet, including the three exceptions. To become law, the bill must win simple majorities in both the lower house and the senate.