“Our grandmothers gave us the vote, our mothers gave us the divorce and we give them sentence C-055-22”, Colombian women said one year after the decriminalization of abortion.
Feminist organizations and women’s collectives celebrated on Tuesday (21) one year since the decriminalization of abortion up to 24 weeks of gestation in Colombia. Sentence C-055-22 was the result of pressure from the feminist movement in the country, which organized a national campaign leading the Constitutional Court to approve the right.
“This historic achievement gives us new parameters and norms that we have to know in order to defend our right”, says the joint communiqué of the campaign in defense of abortion.
The movement Just Cause for Abortion celebrated “the power of the collective and the movement, which made the decriminalization of abortion possible”, while the slogans raised by women argue that “feminists are changing the world”.
In the last 12 months, the Ministry of Health issued a resolution to avoid barriers when accessing the right, establishing that the termination of pregnancy must be carried out within five days after the request; also extended the period for carrying out the procedure via medication to up to 12 weeks. The measure also reaffirms that minors under the age of 18 can have an abortion without the authorization of mothers, fathers or guardians.
“But there are still barriers to be knocked down. Not all women are well informed, there are doctors who lie and say it is illegal or refuse to perform the service and do not refer anyone to do it. Not to mention that immigrant women also face xenophobia “, he reported congresswoman Jennifer Pedraza Sandoval.
“We are committed to social decriminalization to leave behind stigmas and lies”, concluded the parliamentarian and activist of the Just Cause for Abortion movement.
Prior to the 2022 court decision, the Colombian Penal Code provided for up to 4 and a half years in prison for anyone who carried out the procedure.
Now, in addition to the decriminalization up to the 24th week, the current rule authorizes the termination of pregnancy without a gestation limit on three occasions: cases of rape, risks to the pregnant woman or risks to the fetus.
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According to the movement Mesa for the Life and Health of Women, annually, around 400 Colombian women are prosecuted for carrying out the voluntary termination of pregnancy.
About 12.5% of the cases of clandestine abortion prosecuted by the Colombian justice before the law corresponded to adolescents between 14 and 17 years old. Of this total, 24% were penalized.
In 2020 alone, around 4,268 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 were forced to give birth in Colombia.
Editing: Arturo Hartmann
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