The legislation, introduced in January this year, sought to amend the current Chilean penal code so that the current prohibitions on abortion only applied after 14 weeks.
After the vote in November, the lower chamber posted on Twitter: “The Chamber rejected a motion that modifies the Penal Code, to decriminalize consensual abortion by women within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The project is shelved”.
Abortion is currently legal in Chile under restricted circumstances including if the mother’s being pregnant is a result of rape or if the mother’s life is in danger.
Rosario Corvalán, a lawyer with the legislative department of the Chilean NGO Comunidad y Justicia, expressed her joy over “the result and for the message it sends to citizens”.
“They must stop giving us the message that ‘the majority of citizens want these bills,’ because our representatives have spoken and they don’t want abortion”, Corvalán said.
“Although the law can’t change reality, it can be instructive. If you see that the majority of Congress says that ‘abortion is a crime,’ that helps citizens to reflect and say that ‘abortion is a bad thing’”.
Corvalán encouraged pro-lifers “not to stop defending their ideas, thinking that they’re an exception or something unusual. Let’s go back to this common sense idea of defending the life of an innocent person”.
Abortion in South and Central America
Despite widespread popular opposition, Argentina introduced abortion on demand last year. Argentina is only the third country in South America to introduce abortion on demand, alongside Uruguay and Guyana.
Earlier in 2020, thousands of protesters joined in pro-life demonstrations, which according to organisers, took place in across more than 500 cities in Argentina in opposition to a bill that would legalise abortion on demand.
Argentina has joined a long list of countries where governments and unelected officials have imposed abortion on their citizens without popular support. Most famously, this took place in the United States in 1973 when seven unelected judges imposed abortion on all fifty states.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Obviously this is a good thing. Despite what abortion supporters think, there need be no opposition between mothers and their own babies. We do not have to pick one to the detriment of the other. Laws that prevent abortion recognise that both mothers’ and babies’ lives matter. The law can protect both and we can love both”.