Palabras clave

Academia, Género,
Derecho y Sexualidad.

Abortion in Chile: the practice under a restrictive regime

Lidia Casas Becerra *Lidia Casas Becerra *
Lieta Vivaldi Macho

(*) Integrante(s) de la Red Alas.

This article examines, from a human rights perspective, the experience of women, and the practicesof health care providers regarding abortion in Chile. Most abortions, as high as 100,000 a year, are obtainedsurreptitiously and clandestinely, and income and connections play a key role. The illegality of abortioncorrelates strongly with vulnerability, feelings of guilt and loneliness, fear of prosecution, physical andpsychological harm, and social ostracism. Moreover, the absolute legal ban on abortion has a chilling effect onhealth care providers and endangers women’s lives and health. Although misoprostol use has significantlyhelped to prevent greater harm and enhance women’s agency, a ban on sales created a black market.Against this backdrop, feminists have taken action in aid of women. For instance, a feminist collectiveopened a telephone hotline,Linea Aborto Libre(Free Abortion Line), which has been crucial in informingwomen of the correct and safe use of misoprostol. Chile is at a crossroads. For the first time in 24 years,abortion law reform seems plausible, at least when the woman’s life or health is at risk and in cases of rapeand fetal anomalies incompatible with life. The political scenario is unfolding as we write. Congressionalapproval does not mean automatic enactment of a new law; a constitutional challenge is highly likely andwill have to be overcome.


Reproductive Health Matters 22, no.44 (December 2014): 70-81.