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SANTIAGO DE CHILE, May 8, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Chilean minister for the National Women’s Service, Claudia Pascual, announced yesterday in a press conference that the administration of President Michelle Bachelet plans to seek the legalization of abortion.

Pascual, the first communist government minister since Salvador Allende in 1973, said, “The government program is to move forward in sexual and reproductive rights, as well as giving the possibility of the decriminalization of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in three cases.”

President Bachelet herself has mentioned the three cases in which killing the unborn will be legal in one of her first presidential press conferences: “When the health or life of the mother are at risk, the fetus is not viable or in cases of rape,” she told Chilean media in December.

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“Clearly we are talking about something that’s essential,” she said.

As of today, Chile has a total ban on abortion and boasts the lowest maternal mortality in Latin America, contradicting claims by pro-abortion groups that the legalization of abortion is necessary for women’s health.

According to Claudia Dides, president of Chile’s Movement for the Legal Interruption of Pregnancy, the legalization of abortion should be done in an “urgent manner,” as 17 women are raped daily in Chile.

“This is one of the biggest debts that this democracy has with Chilean women,” she said.

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Dides presented a poll by the UN-sponsored Flacso that claimed 67 percent of all Chileans agree with what she calls “therapeutic abortion.” Dides herself appears as one of the survey authors.

However, a poll conducted earlier this year by Pew Research showed that 64 percent of Chileans find abortion “morally unacceptable.”

Human Rights Watch has also been pressuring Chile to legalize abortion.

“The country must adjust its legislation and practices to international standards,” said HRW America’s director, Jose Miguel Vivanco, to La Segunda on April 25. “This means women should have the right to decide on the interruption of their pregnancy when there are conditions for a therapeutic abortion,” he explained.

Left-wing Michelle Bachelet has been in office since last December. She succeeded Sebastian Piñera, who during his term received awards from pro-life organizations for his efforts to defend the unborn.

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