70% in Chile back easing of abortion ban: poll

70% in Chile back easing of abortion ban: poll

Santiago (AFP) - A plan to ease a ban on abortion in Chile has the backing of 70 percent of the country, a new poll released on Monday suggested, as a government push to do so navigated legislative problems.

A bill allowing abortion in cases of rape, if the mother's life is at risk, or if the fetus presents a deadly birth defect got held up in the National Congress last week when a lawmaker from the ruling coalition abstained from the vote, preventing a quorum.

That means the text now must be revised by a committee of deputies and senators before being resubmitted.

The survey, by the Chilean firm Cadem, found 70 percent of respondents supported abortions in the three cases set out in the bill.

Twenty-four percent were against, and six percent gave no opinion.

The survey questioned 705 people, 494 of them by telephone and 211 in person. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.7 percent.

The result corresponded to previous surveys on the issue.

President Michelle Bachelet has worked since 2015 to overturn the strict ban on abortions brought in 1989, in the final days of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

Under current law, abortion is punishable by up to five years in prison.