Chileans Clearly Divided on Abortion

Adults in Chile are split on the topic of pregnancy termination, according to a poll by Ipsos, 46.9 per cent of respondents are opposed to abortion, while 39.1 per cent would allow it in some cases.

In addition, 13.4 per cent of respondents are in favour of abortion.

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.

Last month, former Chilean president Eduardo Frei—who is the CPD’s candidate in this year’s election—discussed his views on abortion, saying, “Therapeutic abortion was allowed in Chile until 1989, when it was banned. People who review this matter forget that it was allowed during the whole military government. This is a complex topic. We must respect personal decisions, and avoid moral considerations.”

Polling Data
In general, are you in favour of abortion?
13.4% : Yes
39.1% : Only in some cases
46.9% : No
 0.6% : Not sure

Source: Ipsos

Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,008 Chilean adults, conducted from Mar. 17 to Apr. 3, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.


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