Medwave. 2015 May 19;15(4):e6139. doi: 10.5867/medwave.2015.04.6139.

Abortion: taking the debate seriously

Kottow Lang MH


Voluntarily induced abortion has been under permanent dispute and legal regulations, because societies invariably condemn extramarital pregnancies. In recent decades, a measure of societal tolerance has led to decriminalize and legalize abortion in accordance with one of two models: a more restricted and conservative model known as therapeutic abortion, and the model that accepts voluntary abortion within the first trimester of pregnancy. Liberalization of abortion aims at ending clandestine abortions and decriminalizes the practice in order to increase reproductive education and accessibility of contraceptive methods, dissuade women from interrupting their pregnancy and, ultimately, make abortion a medically safe procedure within the boundaries of the law, inspired by efforts to reduce the incidence of this practice. The current legal initiative to decriminalize abortion in Chile proposes a notably rigid set of indications which would not resolve the three main objectives that need to be considered:

  1. Establish the legal framework of abortion;
  2. Contribute to reduce social unrest;
  3. Solve the public health issue of clandestine, illegal abortions.

Debate must urgently be opened to include alternatives in line with the general tendency to respect women's decision within the first trimester of pregnancy.

Comment: This is an important paper, again indicating that legalizing safe abortion in a country does not increase the total number of abortions taking place, but only decreases the number of unsafe abortions, thereby decreasing mortality of young women. (HMV)