Colombia’s constitutional court voted this week to decriminalize abortion in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Colombia is the third large country in Latin America to decriminalize abortion in a bit more than a year, after Mexico and Argentina.
As with euthanasia, abortion has become legal through the country’s high court, not by a vote of the legislature.
Although the media highlighted crowds of jubilant activists, the decision is by no means universally popular.
Alejandro Ordóñez, Colombia’s ambassador to the Organization of American States, tweeted that a state “that decides to eliminate a portion of human beings, from the first day or until the 24th week, becomes genocidal and totalitarian.”
‘It hurts to see how society is subjugated by the culture of death,” he added. “This is an act of violence with appearances of legality.”
A spokesman for the Catholic bishops of Colombia declared: “”The Colombian Constitution says that life is the fundamental right of all citizens and from there all the other rights that are defended in Colombia and throughout the world are based on it … reason shows us that if we defend life in its most fragile stages, from the moment of fertilisation and in its gestation stage, as well as in the stages of illness, it will lead us to be coherent in asking that children not be recruited, that there be no anti-personnel mines, that there be no homicides, massacres, war, that there be no violence. We are called to coherently respect life from gestation to natural death.”
On the other hand, Catalina Martínez Coral, of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said: “This is a historic decision for Latin America and the Caribbean, and will serve as a beacon for the constitutional and supreme courts of the region.”
Seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean still ban abortion in under all circumstances: El Salvador, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname and Haiti.