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Chile's Decades-Old Abortion Ban Might Finally Be Lifted

If the Chilean Senate passes legislation introduced by the country's president, the current abortion ban will be lifted — but with some caveats.

By Melissa Prax | March 18, 2016

Abortion laws in largely Catholic countries of Latin America are strict — but Chile may be changing.

If the Senate passes legislation introduced by Chile's president, the current abortion ban will be lifted — but with some caveats.

Rape survivors and those with health risks would potentially be allowed to abort their fetuses.

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The 1989 ban was put in place by former leader Augusto Pinochet, and for opponents, it's a lingering reminder of his dictatorship.

The proposed legislation mirrors what abortion laws were like before Pinochet.

Human rights groups and Chile's current president have long opposed the nation's anti-abortion laws.

Citing the country's Ministry of Health, Amnesty International said every year over 33,000 Chilean women and girls have to seek medical help for pregnancy complications, like unsafe or self-induced abortions.

To advance women's health rights, a nongovernmental organization based in Chile posted several fake "abortion tutorials" last year that got global attention.

Chilean lawmakers have tried to lift the ban before. An 11-year-old raped in 2013 made headlines and sparked protests after she was barred from aborting the baby.

This video includes clips from 24 HorasTeleSurChannel 4MILES Chile and PBS and images from Getty Images and Ben2 / CC BY SA 3.0.

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