SANTIAGO, Chile — In a story July 5 about an abortion debate in Chile, The Associated Press reported erroneously that the country outlawed all abortions in 1973. They were banned in 1989.
The same error occurred in an April 5, 2012, story about Chilean lawmakers declining to relax the abortion ban.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Child's pregnancy sets off Chile abortion debate
Abortion debate flares in Chile over case of raped 11-year old.
By LUIS ANDRES HENAO
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — The case of a pregnant 11-year old girl who was raped in Chile by her mother's partner has set off a national debate about abortion in one of the most socially-conservative countries in Latin America.
Chileans were outraged on Friday after state TV reported that the girl is 14 weeks pregnant and was raped repeatedly over two years. Police in the remote southern city of Puerto Montt arrested her mother's partner, who confessed to abusing the fifth grader. The case was brought to their attention by the pregnant child's maternal grandmother.
Doctors say the girl's life and that of the fetus are at high risk. But in Chile, ending the pregnancy is not an option.
Chile allowed abortions for medical reasons until they were outlawed in 1989 under the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The current government of conservative President Sebastian Pinera has opposed any loosening of the prohibition.
Many Chileans were venting outrage on social media Friday. Some started an online campaign to demand legalization of abortion in cases of rape or health risks for the mother.
"When I heard about this little girl my first reaction was to support abortion because I think it's the best option in this case," said Eduardo Hernandez, a 30-year-old web designer.
"It's the first online petition I've signed in my life, but I think this case really deserves it," Hernandez said. "We should have a law. I hope this case serves as precedent to have a serious discussion about abortion."
"We're faced with an 11-year-old girl whose childhood has been damaged and she's pregnant," Nicole Salvatierra, a 26-year-old-journalist, told The Associated Press in an email exchange after earlier speaking out about the case on Twitter. "The state is blocking a way to revert this situation. It's twice as bad for her. That's what's criminal, not interrupting the pregnancy in the context that justifies it."
But more conservative members of Chilean society oppose all abortions and the nation's Senate last year rejected three bills last year that would have eased the absolute ban.
"The Senate has voted in favor of life, of the unborn child, a policy the government has defended," Cristian Larroulet, a top presidential aide, said after one of the votes.
One of the bills would have permitted abortion if two doctors said it was needed because of risks to a mother's life or other medical reasons, such as a fetus with low chances of survival. Another one of the measures that was rejected would have allowed abortion in the event of rape.