Abortion and human rights in Chile

anti abortion billboard

It’s a famous image from the time of Chile’s 1973 military coup, a stark black and white photograph of prisoners sitting on bleachers in the National Stadium, where thousands were detained, interrogated, tortured and in many cases killed. It recently appeared on a billboard in Santiago, without photographer Marcelo Montecino’s permission and in a way many would find offensive.

The caption reads “ABORTION is torture, death and disappearance,” and the billboard is part of a campaign against a proposed law to allow the procedure in order to save the woman’s life or in cases of rape or non-viability of the fetus.  Chile has one of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws, with an absolute ban on all pregnancy terminations imposed at the end of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1989. There have been around a dozen proposed bills to loosen this ban since 1991 and the current bill faces opposition from even from some in the ruling center-left coalition—particularly Chile’s Christian Democrats.

Amnesty International has issued a statement calling Chile’s current law draconian and saying it treats women as second-class citizens. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/chile-extreme-anti-abortion-law-creates-climate-of-fear-and-substandard-health-care-for-women/

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