Constitutional Court judgement that changed the abortion law: celebrating the 10th anniversary

La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de la Mujer writes: May 2016 is for us a month full of symbolism. It was ten years ago when the history of abortion in Colombia changed forever. The Constitutional Court recognized abortion as a fundamental right of all Colombian women on three grounds: when the pregnancy poses a risk to life or health of the woman, when there is severe fetal malformation and when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Thanks to this ruling, abortion is for all Colombians a fundamental right.

The judgement was handed down on 10 May 2006. Exactly ten years later, women’s organizations gathered in the main cities of Colombia to celebrate with music and art the recognition of women as autonomous subjects, capable of deciding on their own lives, their future, their reproduction, their bodies and motherhood. At 8pm in Bogotá, more than 300 women and men in the Hippies Park were chanting “It’s a fact, abortion is a right” amid dancing and drums. Our voices were also heard in Bucaramanga, Barranquilla and Pereira, cities that experienced an unforgettable night for the rights of women.

Our celebrations recall that this was not an easy win. It has taken many years of constant activism and advocacy in the legal and political debate. Women, feminists and women’s organizations championed this struggle, pushing and pressing for changes at different levels to consolidate the partial legalization of abortion and the full and timely access of women to legal abortion services.

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http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/nacional/asi-celebraron-los-diez-anos-de-despenalizacion-del-abo-galeria-631641

This effort deserved to be immortalized in some way, and in the midst of the celebrations the gift of an allusive mural on the right to abortion was placed in the Chapinero neighborhood of Bogotá. its colours remind citizens that the decriminalization of abortion is part of a broader recognition of the rights of women, and that legal abortion is essential for strengthening democracy and justice in the country.

Through the newspaper El Espectador, La Mesa has published the book Las causales de la ley y la causa de las mujeres (summary in English: Law exceptions and the cause of women), a document about the history of abortion law reform in Colombia and progress, barriers and challenges relating to abortion and democracy in the country. But our achievement is also the achievement of all women in the region and in the world.

Webinars

We want to share our experience through three webinars:

  • Thursday, 19 May

Las causales de la ley y la causa de las mujeres la implementación del aborto legal en Colombia: Diez años profundizando la democracia

  • Friday, 20 May

Las causales de la ley y la causa de las mujeres la implementación del aborto legal en Colombia: Diez años profundizando la democracia (The health exception: A strategy for expanding access to abortion services and protecting the autonomy and freedom of women.

  • Thursday, 26 May

Las causales de la ley y la causa de las mujeres la implementación del aborto legal en Colombia: Diez años profundizando la democracia (Towards the full legalization of abortion in Colombia and other challenges. It will be held on , and can be accessed through this link:

On 10 May we celebrated the partial decriminalization of abortion. In a few years, we will be right here celebrating the full decriminalization. We will not stop working for our rights!

Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir – Colombia adds: Sí, celebramos que el Estado haya reconocido a las mujeres como sujetas autónomas capaces de decidir sobre su propia vida, su futuro, su reproducción, su cuerpo y sobre su maternidad.

Sí, festejamos que hemos avanzado… Sin embargo nos siguen doliendo y preocupando aquellas mujeres que aún no acceden a un aborto seguro. Es innegable que cuando las mujeres están decididas a interrumpir su embarazo, lo hacen sin importar si se trata de una práctica legal o no, poniendo muchas veces en riesgo su vida al someterse a procedimientos inseguros, insalubres e ilegales. Ante esta situación de riesgo son más vulnerables aquellas mujeres que no cuentan con suficientes recursos económicos para acceder a un procedimiento confiable y seguro.

Sí, es una realidad que las creencias religiosas siguen impregnadas en las acciones de funcionarios de la salud, interponiendo trabas médicas y administrativas para incumplir con la Sentencia y obstaculizar el Derecho a Decidir de las mujeres, incluso poniendo en riesgo su vida y su libertad, atentando además contra la laicidad del Estado, que sugiere la separación entre el Estado y la Iglesia.

Sí, somos conscientes de las barreras de acceso y de información que aún existen, pero celebramos que el aborto es un derecho constitucionalmente protegido y una opción que tienen las mujeres para decidir frente a su reproducción. Seguiremos trabajando por la defensa y garantía de los Derechos Sexuales y Reproductivos de las mujeres, que son reconocidos como Derechos Humanos, y por lo tanto, hacen parte del derecho constitucional en Colombia.

…Festejamos la capacidad de seguir trabajando juntas (os) y que se evidenció una vez más en esta apuesta colectiva por celebrar el reconocimiento al Derecho a Decidir de las Mujeres en Colombia.

SOURCE: http://cddcolombia.org/es/novedades/ni-de-la-iglesia-ni-del-estado

Human Rights Watch adds: Currently, there is a bill in Colombia’s congress to fully decriminalize abortion in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, introduced by the country’s former Attorney General. Congresswoman Angelica Lozano intends to introduce a similar bill in the coming months, with slight modifications. Both would eliminate some of the institutional barriers that limit access because women and girls would no longer have to prove that their pregnancies meet the current legal exceptions, which will go a long way to ensuring abortion services can be accessed safely when needed.

SOURCE: Dispatches: Legal Abortion Still Out of Reach for Many in Colombia