Colombia’s Constitutional Court has decriminalized abortion up to 24 weeks, continuing a trend that has been spreading across traditionally conservative Catholic Latin American countries.
The court had considered two cases over the past several months. One was brought by lawyer Andrés Mateo Sánchez Molina, and the other was brought by Causa Justa, a coalition of abortion rights groups. The court took up the Causa Justa case first. The other case will be heard at a later date, but Monday’s decision cannot be reversed.
Following the court’s decision, Mariana Ardila, Women’s Link Worldwide Managing Attorney and one of the leading plaintiffs in the case, said:
Today’s ruling is an important step forward in allowing Colombian women and girls greater access to legal, safe and dignified abortion care, without fear of punishment and without having to resort to unsafe abortions. This ruling puts Colombia as the country with the most advanced legislation in Latin America and the Caribbean. While this is a landmark decision for Colombia and for the surrounding region, Colombia’s Constitutional Court missed an excellent opportunity to be at the forefront of the world by regulating abortion outside of criminal law and to treat it as a public health issue.
This ruling follows similar actions in Mexico, where the Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in September, and Argentina, where Congress legalized abortion in 2020.