Chilean President Sebastian Piñera promised to keep protecting unborn babies Tuesday in the face of demands to legalize abortion.
Chile is one of several South American countries that is facing intense, international pressure to legalize elective abortions. But Piñera and his administration indicated Tuesday that they will oppose legislation to legalize abortion on demand, Malaysiakini reports.
“If the bill about so-called free abortion passes, the president fully opposes it and will use all constitutional means, as he has already said, in order to impede this to become law,” Interior Minister Andres Chadwick said.
Abortion activists in America and other countries are putting pressure on Chilean lawmakers to legalize abortion on demand. A bill being pushed by the pro-abortion #AbortoLegalySeguro movement would legalize the killing of unborn babies for any reason up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
In 2017, Chile legalized abortions in the cases of rape, fatal fetal anomalies or threats to the mother’s life. Then-President Michelle Bachelet supported the legislation.
When Piñera took office in March, he instituted new pro-life policies in response to the legislation. According to the report, his administration added conscience rights to protect doctors and medical facilities that oppose the killing of unborn babies.
“The government of President Sebastian Piñera has a position in this matter that is unchanged, that the Chileans have known and that they will know and that it will always be the same: that is the defense of life,” Minister of Women and Gender Equality Isabel Pla said.
Political battles over abortion are turning violent in South America. Last week, a police officer and three women were stabbed in the Chilean capital when a pro-abortion protest turned violent. Abortion activists later blamed a right-wing group, but the right-wing group said it was not involved and blamed “anarcho-feminists” for the violence, The Independent reports. Police have not released any more details about the incident.
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Reports estimated 40,000 abortion activists attended the protest. In contrast, about 100,000 Chilean pro-life advocates marched peacefully against a proposal to legalize abortion in 2016.
Chile has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America.
Abortion activists also are putting pressure on neighboring Argentina to legalize abortion for any reason up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
About 300 hospitals and medical groups recently announced their opposition to the legislation, in part, because of a lack of conscience protections. During a recent pro-life protest, many Argentinian doctors held signs with the message, “I’m a doctor, not a murderer.” Some said they would rather go to jail than kill unborn babies in abortions.