(LifeSiteNews) — In 2022, 62 percent of voters in Chile rejected a proposed pro-abortion constitution backed by the country’s young leftist leader President Gabriel Boric, a former student protest leader, in a landslide. The draft constitution – intended to replace the then 41-year-old constitution implemented by dictator General Augusto Pinochet – was drafted by a constituent assembly packed with Boric’s supporters. The 388 articles of the defeated proposal would have enshrined many progressive agenda items permanently into law, from enforced gender parity in government to the legalization of abortion as a fundamental women’s right.
Boric conceded defeat, and the constitutional process went back to the drawing board. Now, Chilean voters will face a very different choice on December 17, when a new proposed constitution will be put to referendum. The Constitutional Council, an assembly of 50 members elected on May 7, began voting on constitutional articles on September 15 and is facing a deadline of November 7, when it will submit the final draft to Boric. On Wednesday, September 20, the Constitutional Council – which is working on the new draft – formally adopted a pro-life article that states: “The law protects the life of the unborn.” The article passed by a wide margin of 33 votes to 17.
According to Republican adviser María de los Ángeles López (a member of the right-wing Partido Republicano), explaining his stance on September 20: “We cannot consider that killing a human being is a right… the Republican camp chooses life.” Councilor Carolina Navarette concurred, stating, “It is imperative that we amend our Constitution to unequivocally and firmly enshrine the right to life from conception to its natural end.” Mainstream media sources attributed the success of the amendment to “far right” politicians, but polling – not to mention last year’s rejection of the pro-abortion constitution – indicate that they reflect the will of the majority, which is solidly pro-life.
Abortion was legalized in Chile in 2017 in the circumstances of rape, danger to the mother’s life, or a pregnancy in which the pre-born child is considered unlikely to survive. This amendment, according to leftist politicians, could potentially roll back even this limited legalization, and some wasted no time in arguing that protection for Chilean children in the womb was a threat to women who would instead take to the back alleys and acquire dangerous illegal abortions (all abortions, of course, are lethal for the child in question, which is the purpose of the procedure). The new draft appears to be as conservative in nature as the previous rejected draft was liberal.
Mainstream media outlets are already insisting that the process is a “waste of time” and that the draft-in-progress is opposed by an overwhelming majority of Chileans – although not necessarily due to the pro-life amendment. There have been a number of politically charged suggestions made, several of which have been withdrawn, as the Constitutional Council debates the contents of the draft that will be put to referendum. Thus, it is too early to tell what voters will think of the draft that gets handed to President Boric in November – but it seems unlikely that the pro-life amendment, passed with such a wide margin of support, will be removed before then.
If Chileans vote down this second proposed constitution, Boric has indicated that his government will abandon the process rather than attempt a third constitutional referendum, leaving Pinochet’s 1980 constitution in place. That very well may be what takes place, but it’s worth noting that the first pro-abortion draft was widely considered a shoo-in, and the media was taken aback when it was rejected so resoundingly.
Perhaps Chilean voters will surprise everybody once again – and if they do, the right of pre-born children not to be killed will be restored for the first time in six years.