Chile’s bishops push back against president’s abortion and euthanasia advocacy

Gabriel Boric The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, announced his support for measures to legalize abortion and euthanasia in the country. | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Chilean Bishops’ Conference issued a statement in response to President Gabriel Boric’s announcement that he will push for the legalization of abortion and euthanasia.

In the president’s June 1 address to the opening session of the country’s congress, he announced that at the end of the year he will introduce a bill to legalize abortion.

Boric called for “a democratic debate on sexual and reproductive rights.”

The announcement, which was surprising since the government had said that it would not move forward on the issue during 2024, created a stir and some lawmakers present walked out in protest.

The Chilean president also announced that he will prioritize a bill on euthanasia and palliative care that is currently before the Senate.

“We owe a response to those who suffer from incurable terminal illnesses that entail an advanced and irreversible decline in their capabilities, with persistent and intolerable physical suffering that cannot be alleviated and that the male or female patient considers unacceptable,” Boric stated, arguing that passing this law “is an act of empathy, responsibility, and respect.”

In 2017, Chile enacted a law regulating the decriminalization of abortion on three grounds: danger to the woman’s life, fetal nonviability, and rape. Euthanasia in Chile is completely prohibited.

The Standing Committee of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference lamented these initiatives “that attack the sacred and inviolable value of human life” and called for “promoting and defending life for a shared future as a country.”

The Chilean bishops emphasized that “the Church constantly reminds us that the dignity of every human is an intrinsic character and is valid from the moment of conception until natural death.”

Regarding abortion, citing the April document Dignitas Infinita from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, the prelates stated that “procured abortion is the deliberate and direct elimination of a human being in the initial phase of its existence” and that “a human being is always sacred and inviolable, in any situation and at every stage of its development.”

“A right to decide freely and autonomously about one’s own body cannot be sustained, forgetting and silencing that in the pregnant woman there is a second body, another unique and unrepeatable human being, whose existence must be protected precisely because of its condition as a human being,” the bishops pointed out.

Regarding euthanasia, they maintained that “human life, even in its painful condition,” possesses “a dignity that must always be respected.”

“Direct action should never be taken to cause death,” they stated. “We must accompany people toward death, but not cause death.” Summing up their position, the bishops stressed that “life is a right, not death, which must be accepted, not administered.”

The prelates said that the defense of human rights proposed by Boric cannot be achieved “if we forget the rights of the most vulnerable and fragile.”

“Let us promote human rights, let us defend the life of those who are yet to be born!” they concluded.

This story was first publishedby ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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