In Colombia, the constitutional court has legalised the abortion procedure for pregnancies less than 24 weeks. Other Latin American countries, such as Mexico and Argentina, have already taken similar decisions.
In Colombia, in Latin America, the choice of abortion is no longer a crime. The Constitutional Court has legalised abortion for a pregnancy less than 24 weeks old.
Previously, an abortion in Colombia could only be performed if the woman’s life was in danger, the fetus had serious abnormalities, or the pregnancy resulted from rape.
Women’s rights groups argued in a lawsuit that many women do not have access to doctors, lawyers or psychologists to demonstrate that the pregnancy was endangering their lives. The organisations estimate that some 400,000 clandestine abortions are performed each year in the country.
The decision now taken by the constitutional court is considered historic by women’s rights organisations. Although they would have preferred to see full legalisation of abortion, they are satisfied that abortions can be chosen up to the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy. In addition, low-income women should now also have better access to a legal abortion procedure.
Other countries in Latin America have already introduced similar legislation. For example, Mexico decriminalised abortion in September, and Argentina’s parliament legalised the procedure in 2020. Yet the continent, where the Evangelical and Catholic Churches have a strong presence, still has some of the strictest abortion laws in the world.