Palabras clave

Academia, Género,
Derecho y Sexualidad.

Abortion in Chile: the long road to legalization and its slow implementation

Until as recently as September 2017, Chile was one of the few countries in the world that did not permit abortion under any circumstances. Although the Health Code had permitted therapeutic abortion (i.e., on health grounds) from 1931, this was repealed in 1989 as one of General Pinochet’s last acts in office. It took more than 25 years to reverse the ban. Finally, a new act was approved allowing abortion on three grounds: when a woman’s life is in danger, when there are fetal anomalies incompatible with life, and in the case of rape. Since the law allows abortion only in limited cases, most women must continue to seek illegal abortions, as previously. In this paper, we explore the historical context in which Chile’s 2017 bill was finally passed. We then analyze the legislative debate leading up to the passage of the law. Lastly, we present the results of a community-based participatory research effort carried out by an alliance between feminist and human rights organizations. Chile’s law was passed almost two years ago, and this research shows the persistence of various obstacles that hinder women’s access to legal abortion, such as the use of conscientious objection, a lack of trained health care providers, and a lack information for women.