SANTIAGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Chilean Congress voted Wednesday to allow abortions in some cases, bringing it one step closer to overturning the total ban on abortions. The Chamber of Deputies voted 70–45 to allow abortion in cases of rape, danger to the life of the mother and unviability of the unborn child outside of the womb.
This vote comes after the Chilean Senate approved the bill on July 19. The bill was first introduced by President Michelle Bachelet in 2015, who is expected to sign the bill after it passes the Constitutional Court. Bachelet, affiliated with Chile's Socialist Party, tweeted on Wednesday, "Today women recover a basic right that we should never lose: decide when we live moments of pain."
On Thursday, Bachelet tweeted that the three exceptions have "broad" support. "I trust that the Constitutional Court will accept the voice of the majority," she commented.
Chile is one of the few countries where abortion is completely banned, when a law was passed in 1989 prohibiting the practice. Chile is a 66.7 percent Catholic country, with Georgetown's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate reporting only 26-percent Mass attendance.
Several of the country's bishops have spoken out strongly against the bill. Abp. Cristián Cordero of Puerto Montt said in a statement to the Chilean Parliament:
Parliamentarians, both those of 'secular humanism' and those of 'Christian humanism,' who claim to be human rights defenders must listen to a large and larger section of the population that opposes this project, in particular, believing parliamentarians should listen to God's command: 'Thou shalt not kill.'
In November of 2016, Church Militant reported that a group of pregnant, pro-life women in Chile took part in "Voice of the Heart" protests by projecting the heartbeats of their unborn children with fetal heart monitors.
On July 26, Church Militant reported that the head of the Chilean Bishops' Conference was sharply criticized by an atheist law professor at Diego Portales University, Carlos Peña, who called out Cdl. Ricardo Ezzati for calling abortion a political issue and not a moral issue.
Close behind Chile is Ireland, which is set to vote on a repeal of its Eighth Amendment protecting the unborn. Thirty-eight percent of Irish people have polled in favor of repeal of the amendment, which was passed by voters in 1983.
The Catholic Church teaches that abortion is always gravely immoral. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:
Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law.