Pregnant 11-Year-Old Can't Get Abortion in Chile

She may die if pregnancy goes ahead
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2013 2:05 PM CDT
Pregnant 11-Year-Old Can't Get Abortion in Chile
Pro-choice demonstrators hold a banner that reads in Spanish 'Neither white, neither pure' during a protest against a court decision halting free "morning-after" pills in Santiago.   (AP Photo/Aliosha Marquez)

An 11-year-old girl in Chile is 14 weeks pregnant, the result of two years of sexual abuse by her mother's partner. Both the girl and the fetus are at risk of death if the pregnancy goes ahead, but in Chile, one of the most conservative countries in Latin America, abortion is prohibited, and so it must. The case has outraged many Chileans, who have taken to social media to demand leaders lift the ban for situations such as this, where a woman has been raped or her life is at risk, the AP reports.

Chile allowed abortions for medical reasons until 1973, when the practice was outlawed by Pinochet. Three bills that would have permitted abortions in cases of rape or health risks were rejected by the country's Senate last year, and the current president remains opposed to any changes. "The Chilean elite is very conservative and this has had an influence in Congress," says a Chilean political scientist. "Laws, therefore, change at a much slower pace than the rest of Chilean society. Because society is much less conservative than it was 15 or 20 years ago." One small sign of hope: There will be a presidential election in November, and one of the frontrunners, former president Michelle Bachelet, supports legalizing abortions for such cases. (More Chile stories.)

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