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Good news! Chile decriminalizes abortion

    August 22, 2017


    GOOD NEWS: Chile has decriminalized abortion!

    Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal has ruled in favour of decriminalizing abortion under three specific circumstances. This is an important step toward ensuring the protection of women and girls’ human rights across the country.

    A Chilean Constitutional Tribunal ruling on 21 August confirmed that the country’s constitution now allows for the decriminalization of and access to abortion under three circumstances: when the pregnancy poses a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or girl, when the foetus would be unable to survive outside the womb, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape.

    This good news follows months of discussion amongst Chilean legislators regarding the draft “Law Regulating the Decriminalization of the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy in Three Causes”, which was approved by the Senate in July and the Chamber of Deputies in August. During the discussion of the bill many worrying amendments were introduced into it, which would have restricted possible access to legal abortion and sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls, putting their lives and well-being at risk. However, following further debate and campaigning by national and international human rights organizations and civil society groups, including Amnesty International, the decriminalization of abortion in all three specific circumstances has been upheld.

    “This victory is testament to the work of millions of women across the Americas and the world who fight against draconian laws that punish women and push them to seeking clandestine and dangerous abortions, putting their health and lives at risk. The real test now is to ensure the law is actually enforced, that women and girls are fully able to access the comprehensive health services they need and that this reform opens the door for them to be able to fully enjoy their sexual and reproductive rights.” - Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International's Americas Director

    Abortion was completely banned in Chile in 1989 during the Pinochet regime. Chile was one of the few countries in the world with a total ban on abortion. Now, only seven countries criminalize abortion without exceptions, six of which are in the Americas: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Suriname.

    Thank you to supporters across Canada who sent appeals to the authorities in Chile! 


    Take your activism further:

    For months, legislators in El Salvador has been on the verge of debating their country's total abortion ban. Meanwhile, on July 5th, a 19-year-old Evelyn Beatriz Hernández Cruz was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment for “aggravated homicide”. According to reports from local organizations, Evelyn was raped but had not reported the incident out of fear. In April 2016 she was hospitalized after going into labour without realizing she was pregnant. 

    Women and girls like Evelyn deserve support, not prison! 

    >> TAKE ACTION: Call on El Salvador to end the total ban on abortion



    Chile: Extreme anti-abortion law creates climate of fear and substandard health care for women

    Chile: Deputies must use historic opportunity to decriminalize abortion

    El Salvador: Woman convicted under unfair anti-abortion law


    Amnesty International's Urgent Action Network is a community of people who take action—letters, emails, phone calls, faxes and tweets--on emergency cases of human rights abuses around the world. Together, we’ve helped stop torture, halt executions and free prisoners of conscience.

    Learn more here.

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