This Wednesday, the Plenary Session of the Constitutional Council resumed the debate and voting on the articles and amendments corresponding to section II, focused on “Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, Guarantees and Constitutional Duties.” One of the topics that generated an intense debate among the counselors was the consecration of the right to life, especially with regard to the protection of the life of the unborn.
The Commission on Principles, Civil and Political Rights, in charge of analyzing these issues, added to the wording proposed by the Expert Commission the phrase “the law protects the life of the unborn.” This rule was finally approved by 33 votes in favor and 17 against.
Counselor Carolina Navarrete (UDI) highlighted the importance of amending the Constitution to unequivocally guarantee the right to life from conception to its natural end. Along the same lines, Councilor Pilar Cuevas (RN / Evópoli) stressed that her group is focused on protecting the life of the unborn and that they are willing to seek consensus and meetings between all sectors present in the Council.
For her part, counselor María Pardo (CS) pointed out that the word “who” in the proposed norm could open the door to interpretations that would set back women’s rights, such as abortion on three grounds. She stressed that what is at stake is the lives of women and girls and called for intellectual honesty in this debate.
Councilor Paloma Zúñiga (RD) recalled that between 1931 and 1989 in Chile abortion was authorized for therapeutic reasons and expressed her concern that the proposed norm represents a setback in women’s freedom.
From Unidad para Chile, counselor Jocelyn Ormeño (Ind-PS) argued that the freedom of the body is not limited to not being apprehended without legal cause, but also implies living our corporeality in accordance with our own decisions. She emphasized that restrictions imposed by morality, religion and law have historically affected women in their ability to make decisions about their sexual lives autonomously.
Counselor María de los Ángeles López (PRep) raised questions about the freedom of a pregnant woman who is forced to make a decision without alternatives, without support and without information. She argued that the insistence on misinformation about the compatibility with the three causes of the abortion law is harmful to women.