In a radical policy shift, the government of Chile will alter its human rights stance at the United Nations by abandoning the defense of life from the moment of conception and accepting the legalization of abortion in several circumstances.
According to documents obtained by the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, Chilean representatives to the U.N. will accept a pro-abortion policy and break with the pro-life policy of former president Sebastian Pinera at a presentation to the United Nations in Geneva on June 19.
In January, Chile underwent the United Nations’ universal periodic review on human rights issues. The process evaluates the record of each member state of the United Nations every four years. Chile received 185 recommendations from other U.N. member states.
Some of the countries pressed for the change on abortion. Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium said Chile should adopt measures to legalize abortion in cases of rape, incest and where the life of the mother is endangered.
The administration of President Sebastian Pinera, who left office March 11, previously rejected similar recommendations.
However, that policy will be replaced by a new document drafted by the administration of the recently elected President Michelle Bachelet, who has embraced all the recommendations on abortion.
The document justifies the new position on the grounds that “the Chilean legal system establishes that the legal existence of each person begins upon birth, that is, upon complete separation from the mother.”
Chile’s new stance at the U.N. rejects the Holy See’s recommendation to “defend and respect the rights of the human person from the moment of conception to natural death.”
According to the documents obtained by La Tercera, Chile will report to the U.N. that “the current policy of the government will include the legalization of the voluntary interruption of pregnancy” in cases of rape, incest and life of the mother. It will also include the drafting of a law on “sexual and reproductive rights involving sexual education and access to sexual and reproductive health services.”
The rejected pro-life document drafted under President Pinera said abortion would “not form part of the sexual and reproductive rights of women” and would not be granted legal recognition. Abortion could not be legal in Chile, the policy stated, because the country’s constitution “protects the life of the unborn.”