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Chile: Bloggers Discuss Therapeutic Abortion

In December 2010, senators Evelyn Matthei (from the right-wing party Independent Democrat Union) and Fulvio Rossi (from the Socialist Party of Chile) presented a proposal to decriminalize therapeutic abortions, a procedure banned in 1989 during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The proposal allows for a therapeutic abortion if the mother is carrying a nonviable fetus or her life is at risk. Bloggers have turned to the Internet to discuss the proposal.

In a post with more than 230 comments in the blog Zancada [es], Anita says that women should not let the State decide on this issue for them:

El aborto no tiene por qué llamarse terapéutico para disfrazarlo o transformarlo en una práctica menos “cuestionable”. Creo que es un deber de las mujeres dar nuestra opinión al respecto y no dejar en manos del estado ni de nuestros parlamentarios -cada uno con su opción ética- que decidan por nosotras.

El aborto es un problema de salud pública y debe ser tratado como tal y no utilizado como un tema politico [.]

Abortion does not have to be called therapeutic to disguise or transform it into a less “questionable” practice.  I think it is the duty of women to give our opinion on the matter and not to leave the State or our congresspeople -each with their ethical choice- to decide for us.

Abortion is a public health problem and should be treated as such and not used as a political issue [.]

In Blog del Chago [es], Santiago Mora argues that religious groups have a lot of influence on the Chilean State. He says that these groups deny the existence of therapeutic abortions and do not want to debate the issue. Santiago goes on to say,

Mi opinión es no imponer restricciones basadas en algo de lo cual no soy participe. Pero con el ánimo de no imponer ni siquiera lo que pienso, es conveniente que se legisle y se debata al respecto. Es posible fijar criterios sobre hasta donde si y hasta donde no. Y es necesario.

My opinion is not to impose restrictions based on something I'm not involved in. But with the intention of not even imposing what I think, it is appropriate to legislate and discuss the matter. It is possible to set up criteria about limits. And it is necessary.

Regarding the Catholic Church’s involvement in the discussion, Fernando Rodríguez G. writes [es]:

Aquí no se trata si la Iglesia es o no un poder fáctico. La Iglesia Católica o cualquier otra, como un estamento válido de la sociedad está en su derecho pleno de dar su opinión desde un punto de vista humanista, moral, y teológico, pues esa es su misión. No se le puede excluir por pensar diferente [.]

This is not about whether the Church is or is not a real power. The Catholic Church or any other, as a valid establishment in society, is in its full right to provide input from a humanistic, moral, and theological point of view, as this is its mission. It cannot be excluded because it thinks differently [.]

Towards the end of the post Fernando gives his opinion on abortion, calling it a crime and “the wildest abuse of Human Rights.”

Medical student Francisca Crispi writes in favor of therapeutic abortion in Sentidos Comunes [es], arguing that common sense should prevail over ideologies:

La base del aborto terapéutico es la interrupción del embarazo cuando la vida de la madre está en riesgo. Por lo tanto, tenemos que desligarnos de ideologías y aplicar el sentido común para saber que si la madre muere el feto no podrá sobrevivir. Así, la interrupción del embarazo va, paradójicamente, a favor de la vida: la de la madre.

The basis of therapeutic abortion is the termination of a pregnancy when the mother's life is at risk. Therefore, we must move away from ideologies and apply common sense to know that if the mother dies the fetus will not survive. Thus, termination of a pregnancy is, paradoxically, in favor of life: the mother’s life.

Finally, blogger Sabina Atalaski mentions the case of a woman who was pregnant with a baby that had several deformations and lacked most of his brain. Due to the ban on therapeutic abortions, the woman had to go through with the whole pregnancy. The baby died a few hours after he was born. She adds [es]:

Pienso en ella y en varias otras que han vivido lo mismo. Algunas han podido aceptarlo con mayor resignación, amparándose en su fe, dándole sentido al sin sentido. Pero otras han quedado destruídas en el proceso. Literalmente. Lo que está claro es que el costo es demasiado alto. Y lo que es más terrible, más incomprensible (al menos para mi), es que la decisión no pueda ser tomada precisamente por aquellas que sufren este drama. A mi nadie me va a convencer que la sociedad, las leyes o un médico tiene más derecho a decidir sobre una materia tan sensible como ésta.

I think about her and several others who have experienced the same thing. Some have been able to accept it with more resignation, relying on their faith, making sense of the senseless. But others have been devastated in the process. Literally. What is clear is that the cost is too high. And what is more terrible, more incomprehensible (at least for me) is that the decision cannot be made precisely by those who suffer this tragedy. Nobody is going to convince me that society, laws or a doctor have more right to decide on a matter as sensitive as this one

Senators from the center-left Party for Democracy (PPD) have presented a proposal that adds rape to the circumstances [es] that would allow a therapeutic abortion.

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