Santiago, Chile, Nov 30, 2021 / 16:23 pm (CNA).
The lower house of Chile’s legislature defeated Tuesday a bill that would have legalized elective abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
The bill was defeated in the Chamber of Deputies Nov. 30 by a vote of 65-62, with one abstention.
Since September 2017, abortion in Chile has been legal up to 12 weeks of pregnancy on the grounds of rape, and there is no upper limit for fetal non-viability or risk to the life of the mother.
Rosario Corvalán, a lawyer with the legislative department of the Chilean NGO Comunidad y Justicia, expressed her joy over “the result and for the message it sends to citizens.”
“They must stop giving us the message that ‘the majority of citizens want these bills,’ because our representatives have spoken and they don’t want abortion,” Corvalán said.
Voting against the bill from the Christian Democratic Party were Matías Walker, Jorge Sabag, and Joanna Pérez, among others.
One of those absent for the vote was Gabriel Boric of Social Convergence, who is also a presidential candidate for the Apruebo Dignidad coalition who will be in the Dec. 19 presidential runoff election against José Antonio Kast of the Republican Party.
In his campaign platform, Boric promises to work to incorporate a comprehensive feminist perspective and to implement policies such as “legal, free and safe abortion on demand” as well as changes to the gender identity law.
Corvalán explained that some legislators who voted against the bill were in favor of abortion on the grounds passed in 2017. However, “they aren’t going to vote for abortion on demand” because they realize the manipulation involved and the end to be achieved.
“Although the law can’t change reality, it can be instructive. If you see that the majority of Congress says that ‘abortion is a crime,’ that helps citizens to reflect and say that ‘abortion is a bad thing,’” the lawyer said.
Corvalán encouraged pro-life people “not to stop defending their ideas, thinking that they’re an exception or something unusual. Let’s go back to this common sense idea of defending the life of an innocent person.”
The bill was introduced in January.
The Chamber of Deputies’ Committee on Women, Equity and Gender had voted 7-6 against recommending the bill in August, but the larger body discussed it nevertheless.
After the debate in the lower house, the bill was sent back to the committee and was tabled until after the first round of the presidential elections Nov. 21.
The bill was debated during three sessions amid other issues, and was defeated in a full session of the Chamber of Deputies.
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