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    Women's rights supporters celebrate Constitutional Tribunal ruling legalizing abortion in certain cases in Santiago, Chile, Aug. 21, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

The ruling ended what was a series of over two years of lawsuits and controversy, giving women's rights groups a sound victory.

After a long battle, women will have the right to abortion for therapeutic reasons as Chile’s Constitutional Court announced the approval of the bill, despite pressure from conservative right-wing forces.

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In a vote of six to four, the court ruled in favor of the three cases in which abortion would be permitted: in the case of rape, if the mother's life is endangered, or if the fetus is malformed.

The ruling ended what was a series of over two years of lawsuits and controversy, giving women's rights groups a sound victory.

"The agreement of the Court ... adopted in a special session consisted in rejecting the constitutionality challenge of the three grounds for termination of pregnancy," said the body's secretary Rodrigo Pica.

"Today we women conquer new spaces of dignity, freedom, autonomy, and equality, because the total penalization of abortion and the stigma and unjust and inhumane sanctions that weighed on women seeking to terminate their pregnancy has been lifted," a statement from the Corporation for Secuela Reproductive Rights said.

"We are very pleased with this ruling ... this ruling takes Chile off of the list of the shameful group that still criminalizes abortion without exception," said Ana Piquer, executive director of Amnesty International, referring to the other 18 countries which prohibit any form of abortion.

Pro-choice groups faced off against anti-abortion forces outside of the court as the justices heard the case.

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The abortion law is part of a package of social reforms led by President Michelle Bachelet, who had promised to decriminalize abortion when she took office for her second term in 2014, but has faced heavy pushback from the conservative opposition.

A ban on abortion was put in place during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, which lasted from 1973 until 1990.


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