COLOMBIA: STATEMENT – “Not one step back from legal, free and safe abortion in Colombia”

After therecent decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia, it is ratified thatthe country can NOT go back in terms of abortion and that the threecircumstances in which access to this service has been allowed since 2006, area fundamental right that the State must guarantee.

Organizationsthat work for the rights of women respect the decision of the ConstitutionalCourt [to reject] the lawsuits filed to prohibit abortion in any circumstances.However, we recognize that it was the right moment for issuing a historic [ruling]in order to advance in the decriminalization of abortion. … [Meanwhile] womenwill continue accessing voluntary termination of pregnancy with no upper time limitunder the [existing] three legal circumstances…

AlthoughJudge Alejandro Linares’ proposal to allow abortion without restrictions up to16 weeks was not voted on, the landmark ruling from 2006 remains with nochanges. For women’s and feminist organizations, it is necessary to continueadvancing [our] reproductive rights and [remove] barriers to accessingvoluntary termination of pregnancy such as: lack of information about the law, restrictiveinterpretation of the law, e.g. the request for additional requirements, thelimitation of the provision of services based on gestational age, theunconstitutional use of conscientious objection and the restrictiveimplementation of the health [ground], failures in the provision of services,which point to administrative failures such as the lack of internal protocols,and violence and ill-treatment against women.

Thesebarriers also affect women with fewer resources, with less access to education,migrants and those living in rural areas, causing even more inequities andinequalities. Therefore the signatory organizations will continue to work sothat women can access this fundamental right appropriately.

We willalso continue defending the already conquered rights and opening the path tokeep advancing in the full guarantee of sexual and reproductive rights.Likewise, in the elimination of the crime of abortion from the Criminal Code sothat Colombian women and young girls can, at their own discretion, be the onlyones who decide to terminate or not to terminate a pregnancy.

Signatories: Center for Reproductive Rights,Catholics for the Right to Decide-Colombia, Women´s Link Worldwide, ColectivoJusticia Mujer de Medellín, Dejusticia, Women´s Equality Center, CorporaciónMujer Denuncia y Moévete, Fundación Cedesocial, 2 March 2020

PHOTO:The Star, 2 March 2020