VALPARAISO, Chile, January 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Chile’s Senate is slated to vote today on approval in principle for the legalization of abortion, a project that President Michelle Bachelet has been driving for two years.
According to Dan Zeidler of the organization Toda America con Cristo, if the Senate approves the measure, the question will return to a House committee to be drafted formally into a bill that must then pass both the Senate and House of Deputies. The decision to put the issue to the full Senate was made last week in a 3-2 vote of the Senate’s constitutional committee.
But the pro-abortion website Humanosphere reported that “the measure passed the Senate panel with a 3-2 vote and will now need a full-Senate vote to become a law.”
Either way, “Things do not look promising,” Zeidler reported, because a pro-abortion bill could be passed by both houses and signed by Bachelet into law by the next election.
“Pro-life Chileans have being doing a lot, but they have not been impacting the legislators,” he said.
Zeidler said legislators and ordinary Chileans have been won over by arguments that Chile was behind other countries. It is only one of half-dozen nations in the world where abortion is totally illegal. The courts do recognize a “protocol,” however, protecting doctors who take action to save the life of a mother that indirectly leads to the death of an unborn child.
“The good Chilean people don’t realize what this legislation will do to the law, to women and to their wonderful medical system,” Zeidler said.
The proposal the Senate considers today would legalize abortion when the unborn child has life-threatening disabilities and when the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest or threatens the mother’s life. Such a measure has already been passed by the House of Deputies.
The bill’s progress could still be halted. Senator Hernán Larraín of the conservative Independent Democratic Union (UDI) told reporters that pro-life legislators will take the measure to the country’s Constitutional Court if its final wording is not modified.
“We want legislation to protect life, and this project breaks that principle,” Larraín said. “This is a project that obviously would have to change our constitution to approve it, and I don’t think that is justified.”
The proposal was approved by the Senate’s constitutional committee despite a last-ditch effort from the president of the UDI, Jacqueline van Rysselberghe, to spend $18 million upgrading medical care for pregnant women.
Van Rysselberghe told reporters that this was the better “way to tackle complex pregnancies, protecting women and their unborn children, not the government’s response to legalize abortion, which impairs the dignity of the people.”
Chile has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the Americas, second only to Canada. Yet Humanosphere reports that advocates for abortion claim 200,000 Chilean women seek illegal abortions yearly and 33,000 a year are hospitalized with the complications.
These alleged numbers are blamed on restrictions put into criminal law and the country’s constitution by Chile’s then-president Auguste Pinochet in 1989. But a 2015 study by Chile’s pro-life Melissa Institute challenges the numbers generated by abortion advocates.
The study stated, “After abortion became illegal in 1989, deaths related to abortion continued to decrease from 10.8 to 0.39 per 100,000 live births. This scientific fact challenges the common notion that less permissive abortion laws lead to greater mortality associated with abortion.”