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Abortion in Chile: Urgent Solidarity Request

Please sign on to this petition to support liberalization of the law on abortion in Chile, by sending your name, position/occupation (organization), and country to prensa@humanas.cl by 7 March 2016.


To President Bachelet, Nueva Mayoría Coalition, and Chilean Congress:

Abortion: Respect the dignity and decisions of women

From: Corporación Humanas, Amnesty International Chile, Observatorio de Género y Equidad, Fondo Alquimia, APROFA, Centro Estudios de la Mujer, Corporación MILES, Corporación Mujeres Lideres para Chile, Fundación Iguales, Instituto de la Mujer, Instituto Igualdad, Observatorio contra el Acoso Callejero, Revolución Democrática, and Colectivo Lemebel (a high school organization), some academics and individuals:
 

One year on from the introduction of a bill in the Chilean Congress that legalizes abortion on three grounds, and weeks away from completing the first half of her term as President of Chile, we are calling on President Bachelet and her coalition, Nueva Mayoría, to give a strong political signal and a guarantee that they will carry out their emblematic commitment to Chilean women to reform the law on abortion.
 

For more than two decades, the Chilean Congress has delayed legislating on this issue, and has thereby failed to acknowledge women’s equal status in society as citizens, with the autonomy and capacity to make decisions about their lives, their health and well-being. Instead, in spite of Chile’s return to democracy, the criminalization of abortion has remained in force, women are still under threat of criminal punishment and expected by law to continue every pregnancy, even if it is a result of rape or sexual violence.
 

The international human rights community, through various bodies of the United Nations, has urged Chile to amend its legislation, because it is contrary to the human rights of women. The people of Chile are also aware of this, according to all the opinion polls, and they support the decriminalization of abortion when a woman’s life is at risk, when the pregnancy is not viable or when it is the result of rape.
 

Until now, however, with a few notable exceptions, those who were elected to represent us and ensure the implementation of the Government’s programme, have kept their distance or openly rejected this demand of the people and a commitment to women and women’s human rights. This creates a gulf between our representatives and those whom they represent, discredits political parties, puts democracy at risk, and reinforces inequality.
 

The bill, sponsored by the Government, legalizes abortion on three grounds, safeguards the dignity and decisions of women, and ensures the provision of timely and adequate health care in these cases. It constitutes an ethical imperative, which Chile must secure for women and girls. This commitment by President Bachelet will not be met if:

  • the duty of medical confidentiality is not guaranteed;
  • conscientious objection is extended beyond individuals to the health care team or to health institutions;
  • counselling or accompaniment is dissuasive and intended to deter;
  • women over 18 years old are forced to report the rape in order to access a legal abortion; or
  • the upper time limit for terminating the pregnancy makes it impracticable to access abortion in time.

In each of these situations, women’s and girls’ human rights would be violated, because their decisions would be undermined or annulled, and become irrelevant.

The signatories to this petition, both individuals and organizations, call upon:

  • the Chilean Congress to respect the ethical imperative of the Government’s bill and,
  • President Bachelet and the Nueva Mayoría coalition to uphold your commitment to ensure this bill becomes law, as laid out in the Government programme.

Please sign on to this petition by sending:

  • your name
  • your position/occupation (organization)
  • your country

to prensa@humanas.cl by 7 March 2016

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