Colombia’s highest court declares abortion: Live updates

ImageAbortion rights advocates celebrate in front of the Constitutional Court of Colombia following a ruling in favor of the abolition of abortion in Bogotá on Monday.
Credit…Nathalia Angarita for The New York Times

Abortion is no longer a crime under Colombian law, the country’s top court for constitutional issues ruled on Monday, in a decision that paved the way for the procedure to become widely available across the country. historically conservative Catholic country.

The decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia after years of being held by women across Latin America for greater protection and more rights, including access to abortion, and significant changes within the legal context of some of the most populous countries in the region. The Mexican Supreme Court annulled abortion in a similar decision in September, and the Argentine Congress legalized the procedure in late 2020.

The ruling means that three of the four most populous countries in Latin America have now opened the door to wider access to abortion.

It also comes as the United States is moving in the opposite direction, with regulations restricting abortion scaling across the country and the US Supreme Court considering a case that could pass Roe v. Wade, ruling 1973 established the constitutional right to abortion.

“This puts Colombia at the forefront of Latin America,” said Mariana Ardila, a Colombian lawyer. Global Women’s Alliance and part of the coalition have launched one of two cases challenging the criminalization of abortion.

“This is history,” she continued, “and it means that many of the women, girls and young people who are risking their lives in unsafe places, who are being criminalized, will now protected.”

Credit…Nathalia Angarita for The New York Times

The Colombian court’s decision specifies abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy and means that any woman can have the procedure performed by a medical professional without fear of criminal prosecution. It also sets the stage for the Colombian government to regulate the process.

So far, abortion has only been legal in limited circumstances, made under a 2006 Constitutional Court decision: when a woman’s health is at risk, when the fetus has serious problems health or during pregnancy as a result of rape. Anyone else having an abortion – or helping a woman have an abortion – can be sentenced to between 16 and 54 months in prison.

Nine Colombian constitutional court judges voted 5 to 4 in favor of denomination.

In an interview after the vote, Judge Alberto Rojas Ríos, who co-wrote the ruling in favor of denomination, called the decision “a symbol of the eternal fight for women’s freedoms.” ” and is a step towards “self-determination” for Colombian women.

Abortion rights activists often say that this legal landscape has created a two-tier system: Wealthier women in the cities can have abortions because they know how to apply one of the exceptions. are provided for in the law, while poorer women with lower levels of education have limited knowledge of how to do so.

Prosecutors in Colombia open about 400 cases a year against women who have abortions or those who help them, according to the attorney general’s office. At least 346 people have been convicted in such cases since 2006.

According to researchers from Causa Justa, a coalition of abortion rights groups, analyzed government data and submitted one of two abortion cases for court review.

Illegal abortion can be unsafe and causes about 70 deaths a year in Colombia, based on the country’s health ministry.

Recent survey by the nonpartisan company Ipsos found that while 82% of Colombians polled support abortion in some cases, only 26% support it in all cases – and the court’s decision is likely to cause friction as politicians Abortion rights activists, policy makers, health care providers and others determine how it’s done.

Other legal authorities cannot change the decision.

Colombia’s Constitutional Court is considered more liberal by legal experts than the country as a whole, and many recent liberal changes, including the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2016, results from court decisions.

Francisco Bernate, a law professor at the University of Rosario in Bogotá, said the court is also seen as a legal trendsetter in the region and the decision is likely to attract the attention of judges across the board. throughout Latin America.

Activists in the United States are also monitoring changes in the region.

“These struggles are interconnected,” says Serra Sippel, global advocacy director at Fos Feminista, a reproductive rights group based in Washington, DC.

Sofia Villamil contributed reporting. Colombia’s highest court declares abortion: Live updates

Fry Electronics Team

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