Chile lawmakers knock down bill to ease abortion rules

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: Pro-choice activists shout slogans outside Congress, where lawmakers are discussing a bill that decriminalises abortion until the 14th week of gestation, in Valparaiso

By Fabian Cambero

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's lower Chamber of Deputies rejected a bill on Tuesday that sought to expand legal access for women to get abortions, legislation that was opposed by the South American country's center-right government.

At the end of September, legislators in the chamber voted in favor of studying and debating the bill, that proposed legalizing termination of pregnancy up to 14 weeks.

Chile in 2017 legalized abortion for women under conditions where their life was in danger, a fetus was unviable or when a pregnancy had resulted from rape.

"The Chamber rejected a motion that modifies the Penal Code, to decriminalize consensual abortion by women within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. The project is shelved," the lower chamber posted on Twitter after the vote.

Deputy Maya Fernández, who had promoted the bill, criticized the rejection and said it would push women into more risky illegal abortions.

"Many still prefer that there be clandestine abortions where women are subjected to inhumane conditions," she wrote on Twitter.

A number of countries around conservative Latin America have taken steps to decriminalize abortion, including Argentina last year and Mexico, where the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in September that penalizing abortion is unconstitutional.

(Reporting by Fabián Andrés Cambero; Editing by Adam Jourdan and David Gregorio)

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