In Colombia, abortion is criminalized for up to 24 weeks

Abortion in Latin America continues to be liberalized. The Colombian Constitutional Court on Monday ruled that abortion was a no-brainer until 24 weeks of gestation, an unprecedented decision in this Catholic country.

In its judgment, the Constitutional Court authorizes women to have abortions for any reason up to the sixth month of pregnancy. It was only recognized up until the event of rape if the mother’s health was in danger or when the fetus was compromising its survival.

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Apart from these exceptions, women who perform abortions are liable to imprisonment for 16 to 54 months. Henceforth, the Constitutional Court stated in a statement that “abortion is punishable only if it is performed after the 24th week.” The judges said that even after six months of pregnancy, the conditions already imposed by the court would continue.

Country at the forefront of reproductive rights

Hundreds of anti-abortion protesters gathered outside the Constitutional Court. Pro-abortion activists wore green saris to celebrate the historic end. For their part, the enemies waved blue flags and prayed on their knees.

“After the right to vote, this is a very important historic decision for the life, autonomy and full and equal development of women,” Capital Mayor Claudia Lopez welcomed on Twitter.

Colombia, with a large Catholic majority influencing Protestant Christian churches, ranked fifth in Latin America in easing access to abortion. This practice is already recognized in Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba and Guyana. In Mexico, it is legal for up to 12 weeks in the states of Oaxaca (south), Veracruz (east), Hidalgo (center) and Mexico City.

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“Colombia is at the forefront of reproductive rights regionally and globally,” the lawyer for the Gaza Justa movement, which launched the legal challenge against the constitution, told the AFP about the crime of abortion. The court ruled in favor of the ruling by four to five votes.

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