Abortion restrictions in Chile loosened in 2017, and abortion is now legally available in cases of rape, fetal malformation and risk to a woman’s life. Still, real access to legal abortion care remains limited due to a lack of trained providers. In particular, the misuse of conscientious objection (refusals by health professionals to provide safe abortion care) remains a major obstacle to ensuring access to legal abortion. As a result, it is estimated that over 400,000 women and girls are treated for complications related to unsafe abortion in public hospitals each year in Chile.
Ipas works with local partners to build knowledge of the legal indications for abortion and to enhance health professionals’ capacity to provide high-quality abortion care. Other work includes building and growing a committed network of advocates, students, medical providers and university leaders; supporting the development of sound abortion care protocols; and documenting the harm that health professionals’ refusal to provide care causes to the health and dignity of women, families and communities.