Last year, I was having lunch with a group of my friends at the dining hall when the conversation shifted from the apolitical discussion of how BU cooks its rice to something a lot more important: abortion rights. I am from Chile, and while I am pro-choice, my country is completely against abortion — inducing an abortion can get someone five years in jail. One of my friends asked me a question that I suddenly remember from time to time: “How do you feel safe?” I did not know how to answer her, but maybe I will know how to soon. Chile’s chamber of deputies has passed a bill that legalizes abortion in the cases of rape, risky pregnancies or a fatal diagnosis of the fetus.
I am still pro-choice. I firmly believe that a woman should get to choose what she wants to do with her body, and I understand that this bill does not make Chile pro-choice, but it brings the country infinitely closer to that. Chile is one of seven Latin American countries that have a total ban on abortions, according to the BBC. I might be biased, but I do believe that Chile is an incredible country that has improved and become a global name in a short time. However, I crave for it to continue developing. Passing this bill does that.
If abortion becomes legal in the cases mentioned above, brutal statistics may be avoided. Human Rights Watch said, “More than half of the 54 women who died in 2012 due to pregnancy complications would have survived if they had been allowed a legal abortion.” The numbers of women and girls hospitalized because of miscarriages and abortions would considerably reduce too. Lifting a partial ban on abortion might not be pro-choice, but it significantly increases the hold women have on their bodies.
I am not naïve, though. I know that a lot of protests and discussions have been going on in Chile against this bill being passed. I know that a lot of politicians are against this too. I also know that this bill still needs Senate approval to become a law, and that might not happen.
However, it might. I know that I cannot be idealistic and I am not, but in a situation like this, I muster up all the hope that I have to think that this might just become the law. I cannot control the way a large part of Chile thinks and I am aware of that, but if this discussion is happening, then I know that there is a percentage of Chile out there that understands just how important this bill is to women and to the country in general. Hopefully in a few months, the question my friend asked me will not haunt me. Hopefully, I will be able to answer it with a very clear “Yes.”