The Regulation of Abortion in Chile: The Failure of the Separation of Church and State

Macarena Sáez


This paper provides an explanation for the treatment of women within the Catholic Church based on two different concepts of dignity. One linked to equality and autonomy that applies to men, and another linked to sacrifice and martyrdom that applies to women. By exploring the history and current developments on abortion laws in Chile, the paper shows how this gendered idea of dignity translated into the secular regulation of abortion. It also shows a shift in the last few years in which a secular concept of dignity linked to equality and autonomy is gaining track and abortion is finally discussed with women’s lives at the center.