Colombian Constitutional Court will decide on decriminalization of abortion soon

On February 19, judge Alejandro Linares delivered a paper in which the decriminalization of abortion until the first trimester is proposed. 

Doctor looking at an ultrasound on an iPad.

Doctor looking at an ultrasound on an iPad. / Photo: Rawpixel - Reference image

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

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Leer en español: La Corte Constitucional colombiana pronto decidirá si despenaliza el aborto

After that period of time, all women who decide to have an abortion for any of the three causes established by the Constitutional Court in 2006 that allow the voluntary termination of pregnancy will be able to do so. 

These causes are:
1. The pregnancy constitutes a danger to the life or health of the woman, which has to be certified by a doctor.
2. The pregnancy is the result of a duly denounced sexual assault.
3. There is a malformation of the fetus that makes his or her life unfeasible. 

According to El Tiempo, the debate around abortion was reopened in the court due to a lawsuit presented by the lawyer Natalia Bernal Caro, who asked to remove the three mentioned reasons that allow the termination of pregnancy. 

This discussion will take place starting next week in the "Sala Plena" of the high court, where the support of at least five magistrates will be needed for the presentation to become a mandatory sentence of the Court.

As read on La FM, the high court is divided. Some sources point out that three magistrates would be in favor of Linare's proposal, while four would choose to declare the matter as judged and two other magistrates would not yet have clarity in their vote on this complex issue.

The document presented by Linares took into account the technical and scientific concepts requested from different public and private entities on the subject. For example, according to El País, it notes that there is plenty of scientific evidence that shows how external factors surrounding voluntary termination of pregnancy, such as social stigmas, negatively affect women's mental health.

Also, it ensures that the procedure itself, according to the technical protocols endorsed by the World Health Organization, does not imply the generation of negative feelings, even five years after practiced, which is one of the main arguments of pro-life to oppose abortion. 

The Medical Group for the Right to Decide also brought a concept to the corporation in which it announced that “the few clinical studies that suggest the existence of a post-abortion syndrome are of low quality and sponsored by religious entities whose agenda is clearly biased”. However, the group did notice that women may suffer emotional damage as a result of abortion in hiding conditions. 

Also read: Pregnancy and breastfeeding associated with lower risk of early menopause

As read on El Tiempo, Linares thinks that this decriminalization of abortion will highly contribute to reduce maternal mortality, which has increased due to the barriers that lead to insecure abortions in contexts of informality and illegality. 

Cited by Blu Radio, head of state Iván Duque said: "I express my opinion freely and reiterate, I am a pro-life person, I believe in life since conception and I also believe that the three causes have already been recognized by the country and moving from there would be very hard for this society". 

On the other hand, Claudia López said on her Twitter account: "From the Mayor's Office of Bogotá we support this position. Women are the most violated population, with the greatest socio-economic gaps and we carry the care that corresponds to society at our expense... In the 21st century, we have the right to choose our life project without being criminalized."

Attorney Monica Roa of the Women's Link Worldwide organization said that setting the limit would simplify bureaucracy and make it easier to "remove barriers so that all women who need an abortion, especially the most vulnerable, can do so."

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