Newly Elected Chilean Government Turns Back on That Nation’s Most Vulnerable


By Rai Rojas

Editor’s note. This ran on Rai’s blog Tuesday.

Chilean President, Michele Bachelet

Chilean President, Michele Bachelet

There is a truth universally acknowledged that elections have consequences, and earlier this morning that truth was made manifest during national reports at the United Nations 47th Commission on Population and Development (CPD) being held at UN Headquarters in Manhattan. Chile has a new leader and this is the first meeting where the newly sworn-in Chilean President, Michele Bachelet, has sent a representative to speak on behalf of the people of Chile.

We who are regulars here at the UN knew a Chilean policy change was sure to be forthcoming – we just didn’t know how great a change it would be. There was a sense of anticipation when the Chairman of the Commission recognized the delegate from Santiago and the seismic shift in Chile’s international abortion policy was felt by everyone in the room almost as soon as she began to speak. The new representative wasted no time in underscoring Bachelet’s penchant for turning radical abortion policy into law.

“Based on the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, we prioritize our revisiting of sexual and reproductive rights as an integral part of human rights: its exercise is essential to the enjoyment of other fundamental rights and achieving social justice in a society free from all forms of discrimination and violence. We endorse the objective to promote, protect and ensure the health, sexual rights and reproductive rights which will contribute to the full realization of people – especially girls and young women.

It is imperative to put a stop to the rates of preventable maternal deaths that result from the difficulty of access to adequate sexual and reproductive health. In order to cut maternal mortality, we must reduce the gap between wanted pregnancies and actual fertility by focusing actions on the most vulnerable sectors of our population.

Therefore, the Government of Chile has introduced a program that includes policies to strengthen the autonomy of women. This law seeks to decrease the barriers to sexual and reproductive health and effective contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception, information on affordable and accessible contraception.

This law will also consider the decriminalization of abortion for three reasons: danger to life of the mother, rape, and fetal anomaly – to guarantee and ensure the physical and mental integrity of women in these circumstances.”

And just like that – decade’s long history of pro-life, pro-woman, pro-family national policy flew out the proverbial window (would that the conference room in the belly of the UN had a window.)

But not so fast. The political profile of Chile’s government has changed – but their pro-life laws are still in place. And Ms. Bachelet may believe these radical changes are her mandate due to her landslide win with 62 percent of the vote, but only 40 percent of Chile’s citizen’s cast votes. That means that more than 70 percent of the country didn’t vote for her, and many who did were not aware of her zeal for abortion on demand.

In fact – she has no pro-abortion mandate at all.

The people of Chile are also “Constitutional Amendment” weary. Since 1980, Chile’s constitution has been amended 16 times by both referendum and legislative action. In order for Ms. Bachelet to carry out these sweeping pro-abortion changes, a constitutional amendment is required because as even she has admitted in regards to her pro-abortion positions, “A president can’t impose views on society – I think we have to discuss this.”

And there is much to discuss.

For years the government of Chile has produced and aired brilliantly touching ads on national television that address the need for mothers and fathers to care for their unborn children. These ads, focusing on maternal health and fetal development, coupled with Chile’s strong protective pro-life laws, have made the country the leader in low maternal and infant mortality rates in the region.

Elections do have consequences, and Ms. Bachelet and her liberal pro-abortion government will insist on radicalizing her country’s abortion laws – but the people of Chile, including those not yet born, are protected by a strong pro-life Constitution. Let’s pray it holds up to the looming pro-abortion onslaught.

One additional truth is also evident – the victory lap taken by pro-abortion NGOs [Non Governmental Organizations] and abortion profiteers gathered at the UN today in the form of whoops and hollers was not only puerile – but incredibly premature.

Editor’s note. In addition to being NRLC’s director of Hispanic Outreach, Mr. Rojas also represents NRLC as an accredited non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United Nations where he works with members of South and Central American delegations and other pro-life NGOs.