Pregnant 11 Year-Old Intensifies Abortion Debate in Chile

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An 11 year-old girl in Chile is 14 weeks pregnant after being (repeatedly) raped by her stepfather over the last two years.  Doctors have warned that continuing the pregnancy is harmful to the young girl as well as the fetus.  Yet, abortion is not an option. This has renewed the conversation of abortion in Chile, where the medical procedure is illegal even in circumstances of medical necessity or rape.

Abortion was once legal under some medical circumstances, but has been illegal since 1973 under General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.  Despite progressive movements around gay rights, environmentalism, and education reform, the current administration remains staunchly in support of the ban.  In 2012, the Senate rejected three bills that would have permitted abortion in certain cases – such as rape or the endangerment of the woman’s life. According to the Santiago Times, Chile is one of six countries with such strict anti-abortion laws.  The severe consequences of denying women access to safe abortion has been recently illustrated in El Salvador, Ireland, and the Dominican Republic.

The case of the pregnant 11 year-old has reinvorgorated the pro-choice movement in Chile.  In the wake of the news, Chileans have voiced their outrage on social media outlets.  Former President and frontrunner in the upcoming elections, Michele Bachelet, confirmed on Twitter that she would work to decriminalize abortion for rape victims or risks to the health of the woman or fetus. Online petitions and campaigns have been circulating to advocate for women’s reproductive justice in Chile, including the video below from MILES Chile.  Please sign the petition to help support the pro-choice movement in Chile!

It just so happens that I will be traveling to Santiago, Chile in a couple of days.  I hope to get involved with organizations and persons advocating for reproductive justice and working to decriminalize abortion.  As such, this will be my last post for some time.  However, I will update Twitter so be sure to follow me, if you don’t already.

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Further Reading
11-Year-Old Chilean Rape Victim’s Health Is In Danger Because She Can’t Get An Abortion [ThinkProgress]
11 Year-old Girl Forced to Carry Pregnancy (from Rape) to Term in Chile [Kinja]
Chile’s Pinera says pregnant girl shows ‘maturity’ after saying she wants to have baby [The Washington Post]

 

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