Abortion in Chile
Entry from: "Chile: A Country Study" published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress.
Whereas the Chilean public seems somewhat favorably inclined toward the legalization of divorce, it shows considerable resistance to legal abortion. Although survey results vary, according to the way questions on abortion are posed, the notion of permitting abortion on demand has only a small proportion of supporters. It varied from 5 percent in the CEP-Adimark December 1990 survey to a high of 22.4 percent in the July 1991 survey conducted by the Center for Contemporary Reality Studies (Centro de Estudios de la Realidad Contemporánea--CERC). However, a relatively large proportion of survey respondents favored abortion under certain circumstances. The CERC survey of July 1991 showed that 76 percent considered abortion permissible when "the mother's life is in danger or when the baby will be born with malformations"; similarly, 53.4 percent thought that abortion should be permitted in cases of rape. While nearly half of all respondents rejected abortion in all circumstances, 44.7 percent would permit it with qualifications.
There is a considerable degree of consensus among the various categories of respondents to a December 1991 CEP-Adimark survey, except for individuals of high socioeconomic status and practicing Catholics or Protestants. As on the issue of divorce, the first group had the most liberal views of all, with only 14 percent agreeing with the notion that abortion should not be permitted and 78 percent accepting it in qualified circumstances. Practicing Catholics rejected abortion in a somewhat greater proportion than the average, and they accepted it in qualified circumstances to a slightly lesser extent. Practicing Protestants (mainly Pentecostals) had the most restrictive views of all: more than 80 percent rejected abortion outright, 17.6 accepted it in qualified circumstances, and a tiny fraction agreed that the matter should be left up to the individual woman. Although illegal, abortions are commonly performed in Chile. Social science researchers have estimated that about a third of all Chilean women have one or more induced abortions during their childbearing years.
Data as of March 1994