Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is fighting fierce conservative opposition to allow abortion for women and girls who are raped, carrying non-viable fetuses or facing life-threatening pregnancy complications.
Last month, a 17-year-old girl turned up at a Santiago public hospital near death from bleeding. A doctor at the hospital called police to report her: she had had a back-alley abortion, which is illegal in Chile. Police searched the girl’s home and reported finding blood-stained underwear. Prosecutors say that she is facing 3.5 to five years in prison. In recent years, cases like hers, or that of Belen, an 11-year-old raped by her stepfather, have rocked Chile’s traditional and overwhelmingly Roman Catholic society.
Others like journalist Monica Perez have to go forward with a pregnancy knowing full well the baby would not live.