Colombia decriminalizes abortion up to 24 weeks
The Constitutional Court of Colombia approved the decriminalization of abortion in the country up to the 24th week of gestation after deliberating on Monday, the court confirmed in a statement.
Colombia has become one of the most flexible countries in Latin America regarding the voluntary interruption of pregnancy. It joins countries like Argentina, Cuba, and Uruguay, which is also legal with a time limit.
The activists in favor of abortion celebrated and waved their iconic green scarves outside the court, considering it is a “historic decision.”
The court ruled that women will be able to interrupt their pregnancy until the 24th week without incurring the crime of abortion, which gives women who practice it or whoever helps them between one and three years in prison—the lawsuit called for the crime of abortion to be eliminated, which was not approved.
After 24 weeks of gestation, women will be able to abort only in three cases approved since 2006 by that same court: when there was a danger to the life or health of the woman, malformations of the fetus incompatible with life, and violent carnal access or incest.
The court called on Congress to “formulate and implement a comprehensive public policy” that avoids “wide margins of lack of protection for the dignity and rights of pregnant women,” the court said in a statement.
In Colombia, a country with a Catholic tradition, some sectors are opposed to decriminalizing abortion because they consider that the right to life is inviolable from conception.
“We are astonished, we do not understand how it happened, what we will have to do is go out and demonstrate, call on the pro-life caucus in Congress to regulate it,” Jonathan Silva, an activist with United for Life, told The Associated Press. His group was demonstrating in front of the court.
The decision comes more than 500 days after the lawsuit was filed by the Just Cause movement, which brings together a hundred organizations in favor of abortion and women’s rights.
The lawsuit alleged that when the crime of abortion was in force, the right to equality of women was violated, especially those who are in a situation of vulnerability because they live in rural areas or are migrants so that they can opt for an interruption of their pregnancy even being on the authorized grounds.
Abortion is prohibited in countries like Haiti, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.