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Chile court lifts complete ban on abortion
Chile's Constitutional Court has legalised abortion in exceptional cases, ending the country's absolute ban on the procedure‼️
A 6-4 ruling by judges on Monday accepted the constitutionality of making abortion lrgal in cases of rape, threat to the mother's life or deadly birth effects.
Before Monday, the South American country was part of a small group of socially conservative nations that barred abortion under all circumstances - including the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gabon, Haiti, Malta, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Senegal.
Under the previous law, abortion in all circumstances was punishable by up to five years in prison.
Polls in July showed that 70 percent of Chileans support legalised abortion under the three conditions mentioned in the bill.
About 30,000 provoked or spontaneous abortions are recorded each year in the country, though it is estimated that clandestine abortions could number around 160,000, according to a pro-abortion rights group.
The Senate vote last month, approving the bill, was welcomed by Human Rights Watch (HRW), a US-based rights group.
"Chile's absolute prohibition on abortion has been a cruel law and bad public policy," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, HRW's Americas director.
"Doctors will no longer have to turn away women who are in desperate and life-threatening situations to seek clandestine or unsafe procedures," he said.
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