Chile’s Constitutional Court is examining the bill legalizing abortion in exceptional cases and is due to make it’s ruling by the end of next week
Chilean Women Hold Breath As Abortion Bill Faces Last Hurdle
The legislation would make a termination legal if the pregnancy was the result of a rape, if the mother’s life is endangered, or if the fetus is malformed.
In a divided vote — seven in favor and three against — the judges accepted the request of conservative senators who claim the bill, which was recently passed in Congress, is unconstitutional.
On Tuesday, two legislators from the lower chamber also submitted a similar 151-page request, signed by 36 opposition lawmakers, as part of their strategy to delay the court’s decision until after August 28 — that’s when the more conservative judge Ivan Aróstica takes over as the court’s president.
The government and the opposition have five days to present their case, along with organizations from civil society and political parties.
The court has a legal ten-day delay to issue the final ruling.
The decision should be made public by August 25.
The coalition argued that the bill was unconstitutional because the charter “protects the life that is about to be born,” according to the 67-page document they handed to the tribunal.
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Chile is one of only a handful of countries worldwide where abortion is illegal without exception.
The ban was put in place during the last days of Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship.
The Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet promised reform when she took office for the second time in 2014 but she has faced heavy pushback from the conservative opposition.
Despite the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, opinion polls show about 70 percent of Chileans favor easing the ban.
Under the current law, abortion is punishable by up to five years in prison.
However, about 30,000 provoked or spontaneous terminations are recorded each year in the country.
According to a pro-abortion group, the number of clandestine operations could be as high as 160,000.