Government confirms that it does not support the decision to decriminalize abortion

A protester shouts slogans on a street in Bogotá (Colombia). EFE / Carlos Ortega

Through the Ministry of Justice, the National Government confirmed that it will not support the demand of the Causa Justa movement, an organization that seeks to enable women to make autonomous decisions about their pregnancy in a free and informed manner. The petition sent by the group calls for the total decriminalization of abortion in Colombia. However, the Ministry replied that there is no reason to go a step further by judicial means since the competence to decriminalize abortion lies with Congress.

It also confirmed, in a document sent by Vice Minister Francisco José Chaux, that, “only in the event that what is determined by the Colombian Congress is indisputably violating the international and constitutional obligations of the State in the field of human rights, will it then be the Constitutional Court the call to deploy an abstract judgment of constitutionality or conventionality on the legal regulations ”,.

That is, on the part of the Government, The decision that abortion is legal remains in the three grounds that this high court determined in 2006: when there is a risk to the life or physical and mental health of the woman, when there is a malformation of the fetus and when it is a product of rape or incest.

The document continues: “this Ministry considers that, if the corporation decides to re-evaluate its previous jurisprudence, according to which the life of the fetus is a constitutionally protected asset, it cannot fail to explain or propose how this should be reconciled with the fact that in Currently (…) a necessary change of approach has been made that also safeguards the life and existence of animals, through criminal measures. Rightly, society deserves to know why it is constitutionally reasonable to punish, even criminally, those who injure the life of animals, but it is not possible to impose sanctioning measures designed to protect the life of the unborn human, that, despite not being a person in the civil aspect of the term, if it would be, from some moment of its development, at least one being belonging to the human species ”.

AME116.  BOGOTÁ (COLOMBIA), 03/02/2020.- People in favor of legal abortion demonstrate this Monday in front of the Constitutional Court, which is discussing its total decriminalization in Bogotá (Colombia).  EFE / Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda

AME116. BOGOTÁ (COLOMBIA), 03/02/2020.- People in favor of legal abortion demonstrate this Monday in front of the Constitutional Court, which is discussing its total decriminalization in Bogotá (Colombia). EFE / Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda

The Just Cause lawsuit clarifies that with the existence of the criminalization of abortion, lWomen are forced to resort to unsafe solutions that put their lives at risk. They also affirm that, despite the three causes, the health system always puts up barriers to interrupt pregnancies.

This debate is in the hands of magistrate Antonio José Lizarazo of the Constitutional Court, who assures that the ICBF must document with figures how many girls and adolescents have requested an abortion in the three causes, while the ICBF assures that the Ministry of Health is responsible to deliver this information.

On the other hand, The Ombudsman’s Office pointed out to the Court that between 2018 and September 2020, they have heard 131 cases in which women were put up with barriers when it comes to terminating their pregnancy voluntarily, of which 116 are new and 15 are followed. Of these 116 cases, four were requested for malformation of the fetus, 37 for sexual violence and 61 for risk to the health or life of the woman. In 13 cases no cause was reported. The barriers came from the ICBF, the health systems or treating doctors, the indigenous authorities or the municipal health secretariats, and consisted of denial of service, negligence, conscientious objection, lack of medical equipment, omission or difficulties to file the complaint.

“Three cases of women with cognitive disabilities were reported. Three of the users stated that they were in a situation of prostitution. In two of the cases it was reported that the users have diverse sexual orientation. A case of an intersex woman who became pregnant as a result of rape was also identified. 100 of the women attended have Colombian nationality, the other 16 are Venezuelan. Of these, 6 affirmed that they were in an irregular migratory situation ”, confirmed the Ombudsman’s Office in the lawsuit filed by Just Cause.

The Ombudsman’s Office also mentioned that women are asked for documents that are not necessary by law to have an abortion, even if they are within the three causes filed by the Government. They mention that the IPSs do not accept as valid certificates issued by doctors who are not from their service provision network. “Women are required to consult a doctor in the EPS network despite the fact that, at times, the times of appointment and appointment do not meet the standards of a reasonable time.”

Even the EPS do medical meetings as a requirement for the authorization of the procedure, which only extends the barriers to abortion. To this is added that several doctors, not to do IVE, object that it goes against their principles.

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