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abortion-2
(11/25/07) -

Low Support for Abortion in Chile

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Adults in Chile agree with the legality of abortion only in very specific cases, according to a poll by Universidad Diego Portales. 54 per cent of respondents believe pregnancy termination should be allowed when the health of the mother is at risk.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Adults in Chile agree with the legality of abortion only in very specific cases, according to a poll by Universidad Diego Portales. 54 per cent of respondents believe pregnancy termination should be allowed when the health of the mother is at risk.

In addition, more than a third of respondents agree with authorizing an abortion if the pregnancy is the result of rape or if the baby has a serious defect. Less than one-in-four respondents would consent to pregnancy termination when the woman does not want to have the child, when the couple does not want to have the child, or when either the woman or the couple are under difficult economic conditions.

Chile has been traditionally regarded as one of the most conservative countries in the Americas. In May 2004, then-Chilean president Ricardo Lagos authorized a law that allowed divorce in the South American country for the first time. Homosexuality was legalized in 1998, but the country does not have an anti-discrimination law pertaining to sexual orientation. Abortion is completely illegal in Chile.

Michelle Bachelet—a former defence minister—was elected in a January 2006 run-off as the candidate for the centre-left Agreement of Parties for Democracy (CPD) with 53.49 per cent of all cast ballots. She officially took over as president in March 2006.

In September 2006, Chile’s Health Ministry authorized public clinics to provide the morning-after pill—which can be administered within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse to prevent a pregnancy—to girls older than 14.

Earlier this year, Pope Benedict XVI called on pharmacists to refuse the sale of contraceptives or drugs used for euthanasia "to raise people’s awareness, so that all human beings are protected from conception to natural death."

On Oct. 30, the Chilean government warned pharmacies nationwide to ignore the Pope’s suggestion. Deputy health minister Lidia Amarales said the government would be prepared to close a pharmacy that refused to sell the morning-after pill.

Salcobrand—a Chilean pharmacy chain—issued a statement, deeming the government’s actions as "a violation" of its freedom of opinion about the pill, claiming they amount to "support for abortion", and declaring, "We express a conscientious objection to being forced to sell a product that can have that effect."

Polling Data

For each of these situations, tell me if you agree with authorizing an abortion?

If the health of the mother is at risk

54.0%

If the pregnancy if the result of a rape

45.8%

If the baby has a serious defect

36.5%

If the couple does not want to have the child

22.1%

If the women does not want to have the child

20.0%

If the woman or the couple do not have economic means

13.1%

Source: Universidad Diego Portales
Methodology: Face-to-face interviews with 1,302 Chilean adults, conducted from Sept. 28 to Oct. 18, 2007. Margin of error is 2.7 per cent.