Threats to Abortion Rights in Colombia: Recent Rulings Pose Challenges to Access

threats to abortion rights in colombia recent rulings pose challenges to acces

threats to abortion rights in colombia recent rulings pose challenges to acces

Last updated on July 7th, 2023 at 06:23 am

In Latin America, Colombia has always been seen as a progressive nation in defending abortion rights. However, recent decisions by Colombia’s Constitutional Court’s Fourth Review Chamber have sparked worries about the potential erosion of these fought-for rights. Despite the historic verdict that decriminalized abortion up to week 24 of pregnancy in 2022, the following decisions have created uncertainty and may make it more challenging to obtain abortion services. The essay stresses the significance of protecting women’s reproductive rights while examining the effects of these decisions.

By removing all restrictions on abortion up to week 24 of pregnancy in February 2022, Colombia’s Constitutional Court created a legal precedent. Additionally, the Court set aside the rule in situations where the unborn child’s health or life is in danger, the pregnancy is not viable, or it was the consequence of rape. These exclusions were essential in ensuring that women with exceptional needs had access to safe and legal abortions. Recent decisions, meanwhile, have complicated matters and jeopardized the gains earned.

Recent decisions by the Constitutional Court’s Fourth Review Chamber on two tutela actions may significantly impact women’s access to abortion services. The Chamber ruled that the General System of Social Security in Health is not required to perform abortions before week 24 in either case involving indigenous women who sought abortions. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection’s public policy, which described the process for providing access to abortion services and was released in January 2023, was disregarded in favor of the judges’ argument that there was a “lack of legal regulation” as the foundation for their ruling.

Healthcare professionals are given the authority to provide or prohibit access to abortion services under the Chamber’s rules, providing they present “good and sufficient cause” for their choice. This discretion creates ambiguity and could impose limitations on abortions performed before week 24, which could cause delays, legal issues, and denial of access for individuals needing abortions. Such prohibitions on abortion restrict human rights, as the Constitutional Court’s own case law has acknowledged.

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The Chamber’s reluctance to acknowledge that withholding an abortion violates the human rights of women, girls, and other pregnant people is one of the rulings’ most alarming features. This is against Colombia’s international commitments to preserve, safeguard, and ensure human rights, including the rights to life, health, freedom of conscience, and reproductive autonomy. It also runs against the constitutional values upheld by the Full Chamber. Denying these rights directly impacts the people involved, but it also compromises the legal stability surrounding the provision of abortion services.

The latest tutela judgements are a setback for women, girls, and others capable of bearing children’s internationally acknowledged human rights. These judgments likewise threaten the legal certainty provided by Colombia’s Constitutional Court. It is crucial to stress that the judgment from last year decriminalizing abortion is still in effect, guaranteeing that those who choose to have one before week 24 can do so in a safe environment and with access to abortion services.

With the momentous decision in 2022, Colombia’s progressive position on abortion rights achieved significant headway. However, recent decisions by the Constitutional Court’s Fourth Review Chamber make it challenging to guarantee access to abortion services. These decisions risk undoing the strenuous effort to protect reproductive rights by generating uncertainty and perhaps restricting conditions. Prioritizing the protection of human rights, legal certainty, and prompt access to secure abortion services for every Colombian citizen is essential.

About Right Sider

AvatarRight sider is a passionate writer who has traveled extensively around the world, learning about the history of all the regions and walking the paths of his characters.

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