The people of Chile have been honored with the first-ever International Protect Life Award. Chile was commended for being Latin America’s most Pro-Life nation, as well as having the lowest maternal mortality rate in Latin America. The award was based on Chile’s extraordinary achievements that help to protect the health and lives of all Chileans, born and unborn.
Chileans have made it a priority to invest in the lives of women and their children. Abortion in Chile is illegal without exception and in a 2009 poll, 67 percent of Chileans identified themselves as Pro-Life. Each life is seen as a valuable asset to society and he or she is protected in a variety of ways. One main avenue of achieving these low maternal mortality rates and respect for Life is through education. The Chilean government has launched a campaign called “Chile Crece Contigo” (Chile Grows with You) which sponsors television ads that are distinctly Pro-Life.
The “Chile Crece Contigo” campaign is centered on the mother and the availability of pre-natal care throughout the pregnancy. The program is also in place to help the child from the moment of fertilization through the first few years after birth. It also promotes awareness that an unborn child is to be considered a member of the family and deserves necessary protection and care. Just recently, Chile’s President, Sebastián Piñera, introduced a corresponding program called “Comprometidos por La Vida” (Committed to Life) which will make it easier for women facing unexpected pregnancies to access non-abortion services.
The Alliance Defense Fund and 30 other non-government agencies make up the International Protect Life Committee of the United Nations. The letter to President Piñera, which was also sent to Chile’s Ambassador to the UN, states that, “Chile has attained the lowest maternal mortality rate in all of Latin America! More Chilean women have safely delivered their babies than ever before! This is a great advancement in the area of women’s health, and an example for other countries working to achieve the reduction of maternal mortality, a key element of the UN Millennium Development Goals.”
Chile stands as a shining example to the Pro-Life world and allows Pro-Life leaders to showcase the strong Life message that is broadcast throughout Chile. Abortion was legalized in Chile in the 1930s. That decision was overturned in 1967 and gave constitutional rights to the unborn children of Chile. Though opponents of the Pro-Life majority have tried to in recent years to legalize abortion, it has repeatedly been defeated. Dan Zeidler of the International Protect Life Committee expressed his joy at being able to present Chile with this honor, “Their achievements make Chile a safer and healthier place for women and their children, and a model for other countries to follow.”
President Piñera is well-known for his support of the unborn, and in an article in L'Osservatore Romano on March 3rd, the same day Piñera met with Pope Benedict XIV, he again stood up for life saying that “[Chile’s] democracy protects human rights, especially the right to Life from conception to natural death.” Many Pro-Life leaders are hoping to be able to set up a meeting with President Piñera on March 25th, Chile’s International Day of the Unborn Child, to personally recognize him and the country of Chile for their determination to protect all Life.