A police officer was stabbed and three women injured Wednesday when a pro-abortion protest in the capital of Chile turned violent.
The Latin American Herald Tribune reports the protest initially was described as peaceful, with about 40,000 abortion activists marching past government buildings in Santiago, chanting and demanding that lawmakers pass a bill to legalize abortion on demand.
However, Santiago police later issued a report about violence that took place during the protest. According to police, a Carabineros commander and three women were stabbed during the protest. Police said they were taken to the hospital, and none of their injuries were life-threatening.
The report did not provide any more details about the stabbings or if they were related. It also did not mention if a suspect is in custody or if criminal charges will be filed.
Chile protects unborn babies from abortion except in limited circumstances, including rape, fatal fetal anomalies or dangers to the mother’s life.
In contrast to the 40,000 abortion activists on Wednesday, about 100,000 Chilean pro-life advocates marched peacefully against a proposal to legalize abortion in 2016.
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.
Here’s more from the report:
The idea is “that a woman can never be sentenced to prison for taking the decision to terminate her pregnancy,” said Guido Girardi, a senator from the Party for Democracy (PPD) which supports the bill.
“That is why we have drafted a bill that we will present next week along with several senators,” and that he hoped other senators would join him in “the opening of a debate in Chile, a conversation, a democratic process, a space for the vindication of rights and autonomy,” Girardi said in a statement reported by the Radio Cooperativa website.
While Minister of Women and Gender Equity Isabel Pla supported the protesters’ right to demonstrate, she reiterated her conservative government’s pro-life stance.
“What I can reiterate and assure is that the government of President Sebastian Piñera has a position in this matter that remains unchanged (…), which is the defense of life,” said the minister.
Last year, legislation to legalize abortion in Chile failed by one vote. Chile has the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America.