Thousands of Chileans rallied Wednesday to advocate for an expansion of abortion rights, but the protests turned violent after reports of stabbings.
The three injured women received medical attention shortly thereafter, and none suffered critical injuries. The attackers, who were allegedly dressed in hoods to cover their faces, also attacked and injured a security officer before being apprehended by the police. They are currently being held in detention.
“This is terrorism; I don’t want to call it any other way,” said Macarena Castañeda. She is a spokesperson for “Mesa de Accion por el Aborto,” a pro-abortion group advocating for free abortion services in Chile.
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. (RELATED: Thousands Participate In Pro-Life Mass In Argentina To Pray Abortion Law Doesn’t Pass)
Chile’s rallies also 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.
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