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Right to abort of raped-pregnant 11-year-old triggers major controversy in conservative Chile

Friday, July 12th 2013 - 06:40 UTC
Full article 14 comments
Abortion in Chile is banned under all circumstances Abortion in Chile is banned under all circumstances

A pregnant 11-year-old Chilean girl who was allegedly raped by her stepfather should be granted all medical options, including the right to abort, rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday. The pregnancy of 'Belen,' as she is known has sparked an outcry in one of South America’s most conservative countries, where abortion is banned under all circumstances.

“The Chilean state is responsible to provide her with every support necessary as she contends with the horrendous physical and psychological consequences of being raped and pregnant as a result,” Guadalupe Marengo of the London-based human rights group said in a statement.

Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, a conservative, has asked the health minister to “personally tend” to Belen's health. Piñera was lambasted for comments lauding the girl's “depth and maturity” for wanting to go through with the pregnancy.

Belen's 32-year-old stepfather is accused of raping her over the course of two years in the southern city of Puerto Montt.

Despite its enviable economic growth Chile remains one of Latin America's most socially conservative countries. Divorce was legalized in 2004. But, as in much of Latin America, a predominantly Roman Catholic region, attitudes are shifting.

Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who is poised to win this year's presidential election, has said she is in favor of legalizing abortion in cases of rape or risks to the mother's health.

The Latin American nations that permit abortions are Uruguay, Cuba and former British colony Guyana. Mexico City's leftist local government decided to allow abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Abortion in Chile used to be allowed when pregnancies posed health risks, but was fully outlawed by the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, according to Human Rights Watch

Top Comments

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  • Boovis

    For “conservtive” read: “backwards”. If they're using religion, rather than logic or science based sense, these people should be collectively slapped.

    Jul 12th, 2013 - 07:06 am 0
  • Sergio Vega

    I agree that the religión don´t has the right to command the lives of those that don´t recognize it as own.....
    Issues like abortion, marriage separation, divorce, euthanase, etc., must be treated as state issues were religious thinking must be kept out because the legal system affect to the whole citiziens where a lot of them are not religious or they believes in other tan the majority religión of the country....
    If the legal system isn´t on line with one or another beleive, just they must ask their follower to not use that law they don´t approve. So easy ......

    Chile´s legal system must be improved changing the base of concepts from religious to racional in the sort time to be on line with the 21st century knowledge...

    Jul 12th, 2013 - 01:59 pm 0
  • Chicureo

    The President simply said that he supports the girl's personal decision to keep the baby. Abortion does not officially exist in Chile, but this case in an early stage of pregnancy is not a problem for the procedure to be preformed at any hospital.
    The girl is described as being physically more developed than her age, intelligent and was not pressured . #1 & #2. You both are ignorant .

    Jul 12th, 2013 - 02:27 pm 0
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