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Chilean President Proposes Exceptions to Nation's Abortion Ban

Chilean President Proposes Exceptions to Nation's Abortion Ban

May 28, 2014 — Chilean President Michelle Bachelet last week said she will introduce legislation that would permit abortion in cases of rape, unviable pregnancies or threats to a woman's life, the Huffington Post reports.

According to the Huffington Post, Chile permitted abortion for medical reasons until 1989, when the government banned the procedure completely. Chile is one of five nations -- including the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Malta and Nicaragua -- where abortion is a crime punishable by prison time.

Bachelet, who is a physician by training, on Wednesday called for a "mature discussion" about the reality of abortion. Meanwhile, conservatives, such as the right-wing National Renovation Party, oppose any changes to the country's abortion ban.

Chilean medical experts estimate that between 500 and 700 women annually could legally access abortions if the proposal becomes law (Planas, Huffington Post, 5/23).