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Media members look on a screen as members of the Constitutional Tribunal discuss the legality of a bill that would allow for abortions in certain cases, in Santiago, Chile August 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado


SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A Chilean court on Monday ruled that a law legalizing abortion in certain cases is constitutional, a win for President Michelle Bachelet's centre-left coalition and for groups that have campaigned for years against the country's strict ban.

With the decision by Chile's Constitutional Court, women in the South American nation will be allowed to seek an abortion when their life is in danger, when a foetus is unviable or when a pregnancy results from rape.

Chile was one of only a handful of countries worldwide where abortion was illegal without exception. The ban was put in place during the closing days of Augusto Pinochet's 1973-1990 dictatorship, and Bachelet pledged reform when she took office for a second time in 2014.

The road to passage was difficult and met multiple delays due to deep divisions in the governing coalition and a unified opposition.

The abortion bill was passed in its final form earlier in August, but conservative legislators then challenged its constitutionality.

With the court's Monday ruling, it now becomes law.

(Reporting by Gram Slattery; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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