Colombia: Constitutional Court must protect the rights of women and girls as it examines legal and safe abortion

Colombia: Constitutional Court must protect the rights of women and girls as it examines legal and safe abortion 

This Thursday, Colombia’s Constitutional Court will examine the possibility of limiting the number of weeks that pregnant women and girls have to access legal and safe abortion. Such a limitation would be a setback for the rights of women and girls, said Amnesty International.

It would be very worrying if the Court’s decision does not uphold the principle of non-regression in human rights and establishes disproportionate and unjustified limitations on the rights acquired in 2006 through decision C-355. This decision established that access to legal abortion must be provided in three circumstances: when the health or the life of a woman is threatened, when a fetus is non-viable or when a pregnancy is the result of rape.

“The Constitutional Court of Colombia has made decisions that have been an example to follow in human rights protection. To impose additional limits on access to legal and safe abortion constitutes a grave setback that would threaten the lives and health of women and girls in Colombia. In any case, the Court should advance in its jurisprudence and dismantle the barriers faced today by thousands of women, especially those who live in rural areas with limited access to adequate health services,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

The Court should advance in its jurisprudence and dismantle the barriers faced today by thousands of women, especially those who live in rural areas with limited access to adequate health services.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International

In July of this year, Amnesty International presented an opinion before the Court calling for a decision that meets international human rights standards and comprehensively protects the right to legal and safe abortion in Colombia.

“The denial or limitation of access to legal and safe abortion may constitute torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. No woman should be forced to keep a pregnancy that constitutes a threat to her life, health or physical integrity. No woman who survives sexual violence should be forced to keep a pregnancy if she does not wish to. It is the duty of the Colombian state to recognize that limiting a right obtained over 10 years ago constitutes a form of violence against women,” added Erika Guevara-Rosas. 

It is the duty of the Colombian state to recognize that limiting a right obtained over 10 years ago constitutes a form of violence against women.
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International

Amnesty International reiterates that women and girls must be front and centre in any judicial framework on abortion so that regulations do not violate their human rights. A judicial framework that does not violate human rights involves the elimination of procedural barriers and other obstacles to access to safe and legal abortion services. 

If you would like more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Carlos Mendoza (Amnesty International Americas): +52 1 55 4145 7003, carlos.mendoza@amnesty.org