The Constitutional Court of Colombia has issued a decision of international significance clarifying legal duties of providers, hospitals, and healthcare systems when conscientious objection is made to conducting lawful abortion. The decision establishes objecting providers’ duties to refer patients to non-objecting providers, and that hospitals, clinics, and other institutions have no rights of conscientious objection.
On 3 March 2017, it was announced that Colombia’s Instituto Nacional de Vigilancia de Medicamentos y Alimentos (National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute, INVIMA) had approved the registration of mifepristone in Colombia for use in combination with misoprostol for induced abortion. According to the Gynuity Health Projects website, mifepristone has been available (up to June 2016) only in Guyana and Uruguay in South America. Profamilia, Colombia’s national family planning organisation, hope to begin providing … Continued
“Practices such as ‘preventing patients from having an abortion, providing misleading legal and medical information, and refusing to refer their patients, or to object on a case-by-case basis’ are exactly the kind of practices that fall into the category of barriers and unjustified denial of services not based on conscience, but on the sole fact of not agreeing with a woman’s decision and not recognizing her right to have an abortion.”
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.
An interactive session at Women Deliver highlighted the new WHO guideline, Health worker roles in providing safe abortion care and post-abortion contraception, and introduced SERAH, a working group taking collective action towards its dissemination and implementation.