Being a Roman Catholic country, Chili has had a ban on abortion since 1989, but January, 2015, the President has lifted the ban under certain circumstances. President Michelle Bachelet is now allowing abortions to happen for the safety of young women. Previously abortions have caused women to be imprisoned for up to five years, but now they will be allowed to have an abortion up to twelve weeks into the pregnancy and for girls under the age of 14, 18 weeks into the pregnancy. In both situations there does have to be a valid reason such as the mother’s life has to be in danger or cases of rape. President Bachelet was recording saying that she understands that the ban has not stopped the practice of abortions and that as a mature country they need to accept this. As many of us know though, the Catholic church is very much against aborting babies in the womb, so who knows what this could cause as an internal conflict among church and state.
It is not uncommon for Latin American countries to have a ban on abortion. There are still six countries in Latin America that still have a total ban on the practice such as El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, and Suriname. Chili still does not allow abortions for all cases, but has broke ground on a new mindset. No matter your stance on the issue, pro-life or pro-choice, it is something that needs to be closely watched and see how this Chilean decision will affect itself and other Latin American countries and their decisions.