Chile Votes Wednesday on Legalizing Abortions Hurting Women

Opinion   |   Paula Mendez   |   Mar 20, 2012   |   12:08PM   |   Santaigo,Chile

This will be the 9th time that the evil of abortion knocks on Chile’s doors since its abolition in 1989. That was a historic year for Chile, when a referendum was held and a majority voted NO to Pinochet continuing in power. After 16 years of dictatorship and in a country afflicted by human rights atrocities the abolition of therapeutic abortion affirmed one of our most precious Chilean values, to protect the right of life from conception to its very end.
This is why it is surprising for me, as a Chilean expatriate living in the UK, that after such a dark period of our history, the same political party who were under abuse and who fought for human rights to be reinstated, are now proposing the decriminalisation of abortion and by doing so stripping the unborn of any of its human rights.
The laws which will be discussed next week in the Chilean Congress are three: to allow pregnant women to receive treatment even if it causes harm or even death to the newborn; to allow abortion if the baby is not ´viable´; and to allow abortion in the case of rape.
These laws are setting out changes and amendments to our current constitution such that mother and baby will not enjoy equal protection anymore, by removing legal protection for the unborn and placing the mum’s health (and choice) above the health and well-being of the baby.
For as harmless as they may seem, these proposed changes to the law do not fool Chileans. They know that their country currently holds the lowest maternity mortality rate in the region with excellent pre-natal and neo-natal healthcare when compared, in my own experience, to the UK. In addition, last year a very important law for working women was passed, benefiting mothers by increasing the post-natal period from 3 to 6 months. This has recently been followed up by another women-friendly law passed just last week, where all working mums with limited socio-economic means will have the right to free nursery places for their children up until the child is 2 years old.
Still, pro-abortionists claim that therapeutic abortion is an essential part of women´s health. They claim that allowing Therapeutic Abortion will save women and maternal deaths will be reduced – is this true?
No, it’s not true. In fact a 3 year study was conducted in Chile by Dr Elard Koch and concluded that “Abortion enjoyed a legal status in Chile between 1937 and 1987 after which abortion was completely restricted. Since its restriction until today, Chile has reduced maternal deaths by 46%, making Chile the Latin-American country with lowest maternal deaths related to pregnancy.” How can it then be argued that when abortion is illegal this increases maternal deaths? In fact the only way to reduce maternal deaths, Dr Elard Koch continues, “is to protect life from conception and to have good integral political laws that protect pregnant women. This would stop the number of illegal abortions and would reduce sharply the number of maternity related deaths”.
Also, Michelle Bachelet – who is the former president of Chile, and the current UN Women Executive Director – stated at the Economic and Social council to the UN on the 1st March 2011 that ‘her country’s experience showed that respect for human life was essential for any country wishing to reduce maternal mortality. Abortion was illegal in Chile, a country which boasted the lowest rate of maternal mortality in Latin America. Safe pregnancies, rather than abortion, should be promoted.’
In fact further to this, Chile openly embarrassed the pro-abortion lobby when in March 2011 it was awarded ´The International Protect Life Award´ in front of 30 organisations at the UN.
So when the statistics confirm that abortion does not equal better health for women, why is it that the legalization of abortion is still pushed in Chile?
From the above statistics the conclusion must be that the main drive to make abortion legal it is not women’s health, but ‘women’s rights’.
However as Chile is a country where the nuclear family is still very important, children are adored and a baby’s humanity is still protected under the law, the pro-abortionists find that they cannot simply make the case for full blown abortion on demand on the same grounds as it has previously been made it in other countries, including the question of when life begins, or put a viability on the unborn at say 24 weeks as they do in the UK.
For the pro-abortionists, the re-introduction of therapeutic abortion seems like the ideal way to sneak in, in the long run, full blown abortion on demand in the country.
Their true agenda is demonstrated by the arguments used by the pro-abortion lobby which are exactly the same arguments used by abortion industry, again and again, all over the world: ‘it’s the right to be able to decide’, ‘It’s a real shame that someone else decides what we want to do with our bodies’ or even this is ‘the debt democracy has with women in Chile’.
and as recently as last week in Argentina, where illegal abortion figures were pushed to around 400,000 – 600,000 annually. This is by not saying the least, mathematically implausible if you think that Argentina´s population is 40 million yet is claimed to have an abortion rate 2-3 times higher than the UK with a population of 60 million people.
In Chile these figures have been inflated to around 200,000 in a country of 14 million people in comparison to the 2010 figure of 196,109 abortions in the UK. Simply ridiculous and mathematically illiterate: (
From all this Chileans can only conclude that therapeutic abortion is the first step for ultimately pushing the law to its limits in the pursuit of full abortion on demand in the country.
Good Pro-life politicians = Prolife country = healthy society
The values a country chooses to respect knit the fabric of their society. This is particularly true when I think about the main differences between British and Chilean societies. Their different stands with regards the protection of human life, and particularly about abortion, ultimately forms their people and and thus their behaviour.
Abortion is an important issue which besides having a huge impact on the unborn and women who have the procedure, affects education, health standards and working standards for women, thus affecting family life and society. We have recently seen how the health system in the UK is failing the elderly, where ‘treatment of elderly amounts to torture ( this is the UK, a developed country! Anybody who thinks abortion concerns only the woman is fooling themselves, for failing to protect human life at its very beginning resonates to all different stages of life up to death. For this very reason abortion cannot be legal, not even on the grounds of compassion, as Elisa Walker wrote in a well known Chilean newspaper (, nor right to choose of women.
The UK in fact, makes a great study case for not legalising abortion, when in 1967 this was made legal through the over inflation of illegal abortion figures and only to be restricted to very special cases. Last year, the UK had performed almost 200,000 legal abortions, where only 9 of them were to save the mother in danger, all these including sex selection abortions which are illegal and where the doctor himself compared this to infanticide.
This is why, it is important to choose the right political leaders who will represent the vote of the unborn in parliament. I have seen it at Westminster. Last year Nadine Dorries a conservative MP, tried to bring to Parliament changes to counselling for women considering abortion. In the House of the Lords, her call to do so had little support from the back benches. She was attacked fiercely by those pro-abortion MP´s who silenced her with the same old arguments about women’s rights. The pro-life MP’s did not speak out to support her and even the Prime Minister, David Cameron, who initially supported the amendment, at the last minute turned his back on the bill. On the opposite side of the world, in Chile, as they move closer to the date when Therapeutic Abortion will be discussed in congress, many parliamentarians both from the right and left wings have pledged their support to protect life, to protect the unborn. In fact the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera has already stated that he will veto the law if it makes it as far as signing it off.
It strikes me that those pro-life parliamentarians in Chile are not scared to speak the truth. I would like to finish this article here with some of their opinions:
“I have two children. It struck me that, from the moment I was pregnant: the life that begins inside the mother’s womb is a completely different life, a different human being. In a simplistic sort of way you could say: the woman is ‘lending her body as a home’ for the time of the pregnancy to the life gestating inside. And that life must be always respected”. Ena Von Baer, Senator UDI.
“As all the country knows, I oppose the legalisation of abortion and our Constitution makes sure that all people have the right to live. Our Supreme Court as well as the Constitutional Tribunal have made it clear that the child who is going to be born is also a person who’s life also needs protection”. Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile.
The arguments in the case of abortion due to rape: “suppose that there is a right to classify some human beings as superior – those who have the right to live – and inferior – those who do not deserve to live – and to condone death to human beings that are completely defenceless and innocent given the circumstances.” Sebastian Piñera, President of Chile.
You can’t play God. “Renovación Nacional (one of the main political parties) re-affirms it will defend life from conception to natural death and we trust that this essential right will be strongly defended by our parliamentarians. The death of an innocent who cannot defend themselves cannot be called therapeutic. It is unacceptable that today those who are opposed to the death penalty are also in favour of these amendments to the law” – Catalina del Real, Vice president, Renovación Nacional.
“The Government has a clear position on the matter: we are a Pro-life Government and we are not supporting any type of abortion, or whatever name abortion is given”. (referring to therapeutic abortion) Andrés Chadwick, General Secretary of Government.
“Generally speaking, allowing this type of abortion is dangerous because it is the door to the final approval of abortion on demand, as happens in Europe where we see that the State finances all abortions including abortions practised on teenagers. I feel there is a dread to have a child with a physical or mental disability, when on the contrary these children are a blessing. This is what we have experienced with our sister Paulina, who during birth suffered a mental disability. Her example has been extremely helpful for us and our own children.” Monica Zallaquett, MP, UDI.
“The real discussion here is not therapeutic abortion in extreme cases, as we all well know Chile does not have cases where the mother’s life is ever at risk, but to allow to abort when the child comes with a malformation or disability. I do not want to see in Chile what happens in Europe where women can abort simply because the baby has Down’s Sindrome.” Monica Zallaquett, MP, UDI.
‘The end doesn’t justify the means. It will never be illicit to kill someone in order to achieve something even if it is the health of a woman. All of us who have defended human rights, cannot accept as argument that some people are a threat, therefore we have to eliminate them. We rejected this during the dictatorship and also in democracy’. Jorge Sabag, MP, DC.
LifeNews Note: Paula Méndez, is a Chilean who has been living in the UK for the last 16 years. She is married and expecting her 4th child in early August. She is a qualified architect by profession and divides her time between architecture and family. She is currently writing a book about World Youth Day.