National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Colombia AG To Propose Bill Easing Abortion Restrictions

On Tuesday, Colombia Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre said he will propose a measure next week that would loosen the country's abortion restrictions, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports (Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 11/10).

Background

Abortion in Colombia is legal only in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal anomaly or danger to the woman's life (Alsema, Colombia Reports, 11/10).

According to Profamilia, there are about 300,000 illegal abortions performed in the country each year, with about one-third of those procedures requiring hospital care for complications (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 11/10). Profamilia estimates that 13% of women who undergo illegal abortions in the country die during the procedure. Meanwhile, according to Colombia Reports, the number of women who self-administer medication abortion in the country is "unknown" (Colombia Reports, 11/10).

Bill Details

Montealegre said the bill would legalize abortion through the first 12 weeks of gestation (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 11/10). Women seeking abortion in that timeframe would have to receive information about the procedure and possible complications before they could receive abortion care (Colombia Reports, 11/10).

Colombia's Congress and Senate would have to approve the measure. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the bill faces "strong opposition from conservative lawmakers and the influential Catholic Church."

Comments

Montealegre said, "This is not just a public policy but a policy that strengthens women's rights and their reproductive rights."

Separately, Colombia Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria said there still is some confusion over the Colombia high court's abortion ruling in the country that allows physicians to perform some abortions but permits those who have a "conscientious objection" to refuse to offer the procedure. Gaviria noted that physicians were abusing their rights to refuse to perform the procedure. Further, he said women who currently can obtain legal abortions in the country still face "cultural prejudices" (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 11/10).