40,000 Chileans Take To The Streets To Demand Expansion Of Abortion Access

Grace Carr | Reporter

Thousands of Chileans rallied on the streets of Santiago and other cities throughout the country Wednesday to advocate for an expansion of abortion rights.

“The rich can pay, the poor bleed,” the protesters chanted, among a number of other slogans. There were roughly 40,000 people in total, TelesurTV reported. The Wednesday evening rallies followed the presentation of a bill proposing the expansion of abortion access to Congress by Party for Democracy member Guido Girardi.

Aborting an unborn baby was illegal in Chile until August 2017 when the nation’s lawmakers ruled to decriminalize abortion in the cases of rape, fatal fetal abnormalities and when the mother’s life is in danger, according to The New York Times. Despite these concessions, abortion advocates face an uphill battle given that Chile’s president, Sebastian Piñera, is highly conservative and has consistently expressed his commitment to life.

The president’s position “is unchanged … it will always be the same: that is the defense of life,” Isabel Pla, Minister of Women and Gender Equality, said Wednesday, according to TelesurTV.

Chile’s rallies come after Argentina lawmakers voted June 14 in favor of a bill legalizing abortion up to 14 weeks into a pregnancy. The bill also allows women to have abortions after 14 weeks in cases of rape or where the mother’s health is in danger.

“This is a great day for all women. Women are proud to be taking this step,” said Silvia Lospennato, a lawmaker who voted for Argentina’s bill, The Wall Street Journal reported. “Women are going to fight for equality, whatever it costs.”

“I’m embarrassed as an Argentine and as a Catholic over what is happening,” pro-life lawyer Raul Mansilla said after the vote, TheWSJ reported. “We’ve lost all our principles and moral values that our grandparents and parents left us.”(RELATED: Thousands Participate In Pro-Life Mass In Argentina To Pray Abortion Law Doesn’t Pass)

Argentinian President Mauricio Macri is pro-life but has said he won’t veto the bill if the Senate approves the measure. Argentina’s Senate will debate whether to pass the legislation on Aug. 8.

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