'Historic victory': Campaigners in Colombia rejoice decriminalization of abortion

In Colombia, abortion has been decriminalized, as dominated by the nation’s high courtroom on Monday. Folks can now search the process throughout the first 24 weeks of being pregnant with out worry of prosecution, a results of a rising grassroots feminist motion that has swept throughout Colombia, lengthy a principally conservative, Catholic nation.

The historic win noticed a sea of celebrators(opens in a new tab) bursting onto the streets of the capital, Bogotá, and different main cities within the nation. Activists clad in inexperienced and sporting handkerchiefs(opens in a brand new tab) (a logo derived from Argentina’s abortion rights motion) cheered, danced, and tearfully hugged each other outdoors the Constitutional Court docket.

Colombia joins a string of Latin American international locations which have made comparable authorized rulings. Mexico’s Supreme Court docket(opens in a brand new tab) decriminalized abortion final yr, whereas Argentina legalized it(opens in a brand new tab) in one other landmark vote in 2020 after a protracted, robust marketing campaign.

Decriminalization primarily states that any felony penalties connected to an act are not in place. Then again, legalization is the method of creating an act solely authorized.

“We rejoice this ruling as a historic victory for the ladies’s motion in Colombia that has fought for many years for the popularity of their rights,” mentioned Erika Guevara-Rosas(opens in a brand new tab), Amnesty Worldwide’s Americas director, in a press assertion.

“Ladies, women, and folks in a position to bear youngsters are the one ones who ought to make choices about their our bodies. Now, as a substitute of punishing them, the Colombian authorities should acknowledge their autonomy over their our bodies and their life plans.”

A girl holding a green handkerchief during celebrations following the historic ruling.

The inexperienced handkerchief first grew to become a logo of Argentina’s abortion rights motion.
Credit score: Photograph by Guillermo Legaria Schweizer/Getty Pictures.

Activists and celebrators on the streets of Bogota, cheering on the decision.

A inexperienced wave of celebration in Bogotá.
Credit score: Raul Arboleda / AFP by way of Getty Pictures.

Two petitions(opens in a brand new tab) have been into consideration within the Constitutional Court docket of Colombia, one(opens in a brand new tab) from lawyer Andrés Mateo Sánchez Molina(opens in a brand new tab), who argued that the criminalisation of abortion was unconstitutional. The second(opens in a brand new tab) got here from Causa Justa(opens in a brand new tab), a coalition of feminist and abortion rights teams, whose attorneys acknowledged that the stigma and total notion of abortion within the nation prevented even authorized procedures from going down.

Ladies’s Hyperlink Worldwide(opens in a brand new tab) (WLW), a world rights group, was one among over 100 organizations and activists comprising the Causa Justa motion. They collectively filed a lawsuit(opens in a brand new tab) within the Constitutional Court docket in 2020.

Mariana Ardila(opens in a new tab), managing legal professional at WLW, tells Mashable that this week’s ruling is a “important step ahead in permitting Colombian ladies and women better entry to dignified abortion care, with out worry of punishment and with out having to resort to harmful abortions.”

Beforehand, abortion was permitted in Colombia if there have been severe dangers to life or well being considerations for pregnant ladies, or if the being pregnant was a results of incest, rape, or non-consensual synthetic insemination. Oftentimes, the felony penalties in place meant ladies have been compelled to keep away from authorized well being facilities, choosing underground clinics with much more danger. In accordance with the nation’s well being ministry, about 70 individuals(opens in a brand new tab) die annually resulting from an unlawful abortion.

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Ardila says that unsafe abortions are the results of the mere presence of abortion within the felony code, because of the caveats connected as to if or not an abortion can be permitted.

“[This] is particularly true for ladies and women with restricted training, poor ladies, victims of violence, minority ladies, and girls residing in rural areas who usually find yourself searching for abortions later in being pregnant as a result of they lack data, sources, and entry to healthcare amenities,” Ardila says. “They need to not be unnoticed or forgotten.”

“Beginning now, any lady or woman who wants an abortion and makes a free and knowledgeable resolution to hunt one can go to a healthcare facility to have the process performed safely, with out delays or obstacles, and with out having to point out that she falls underneath one of many exceptions established 15 years in the past, as much as week 24,” says Ardila.

Women holding signs saying

Colombia’s abortion rights motion led by Causa Justa is comprised of over 100 organizations.
Credit score: Photograph by Guillermo Legaria Schweizer/Getty Pictures.

Analysis by Causa Justa discovered that a minimum of 350 ladies have been convicted or sanctioned for abortions between 2006 and mid-2019(opens in a brand new tab). Twenty of those individuals have been women underneath the age of 18.

The case from Causa Justa was heard by the courtroom first, however Molina’s will likely be heard at a later date. Nonetheless, this resolution can’t be reversed, in accordance with the NY Occasions.

“The case has strengthened Colombia’s ladies’s motion and is serving as a reference for allies all through Latin America litigating on abortion,” Ardila says.

Originally posted 2022-02-23 16:34:08.


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