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Child-abuse pregnancy sparks Chile abortion debate

SANTIAGO, Chile – The case of a pregnant 11-year old has set off a national debate about abortion in the socially conservative nation of Chile.

State TV reports that the girl known only as “Belen” is 14 weeks pregnant.

Police said her mother’s partner has confessed to abusing her.

Doctors said that her life and that of the fetus are at high risk, but abortion is banned in Chile.

Many Chileans were venting outrage on social media Friday. Some have started an online campaign to demand legalization of abortion in cases of rape or health risks for mother.

Chile’s Senate rejected three bills last year that would have eased the absolute ban on abortions.

Chile allowed abortions for medical reasons until they were outlawed in 1973 by Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship.

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