Chile lawmakers authorize abortion in limited cases

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Santiago (AFP)

Lawmakers in Chile's lower house of Congress on Thursday approved abortion in limited circumstances, the first step towards lifting a decades-long ban on the practice in the socially conservative South American country.

Under the measure approved by the Chamber of Deputies, abortion will be allowed in cases of rape, risk to the mother, or when the fetus is no longer considered viable. The Senate must now approve the draft.

"Incredible -- the motion is passed," said the leader of the Chamber of Deputies, Marco Antonio Nunoz, after a heated debate of the draft submitted by the government of President Michelle Bachelet.