Decriminalization of abortion in Colombia: A crime that discriminates against us | Opinion

A march in favor of the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia, this Tuesday in Bogotá.
A march in favor of the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia, this Tuesday in Bogotá.Vannessa Jiménez (EFE)

It is time for the crime of abortion to be eliminated from the penal code in Colombia once and for all. There are plenty of arguments to ask for abortion to be decriminalized. To begin with, it is a crime that discriminates against us, made exclusively for us and that has the aggravating factor that it throws us at the stake from the moment we are born. It is a crime not only infamous but unjust because it makes our right to decide for ourselves a criminal act.

That is why, because it is time to tear down the walls that the already decrepit patriarchal powers have imposed on women, it is that last year the Causa Justa women’s movement filed a lawsuit before the Constitutional Court to ask that the crime of abortion be abolished. of the penal code. The Court would be on the verge of ruling that lawsuit and, according to my sources, we would be one vote away from getting that high court to say yes to the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia. If that happens, we would be the first country in Latin America to clearly and evidently establish that abortion is not a crime and we would be in tune with what just happened in the Supreme Court of Mexico that declared the criminalization of abortion unconstitutional.

This succession of events on the continent shows that in Latin America there are freethinking courts that are at the forefront of society because they consider us to be subjects of rights and not part of Adam’s rib, as in fact Alejandro Ordóñez, current ambassador, maintains to this day. of Colombia in the OAS.

In the Colombian case, the Constitutional Court studies two papers. One presented by Judge Alberto Rojas and the other by Judge Antonio José Lizarazo, which is supported by the arguments presented by the Just Cause movement. The two papers have different arguments, but both are in favor of suppressing the crime of abortion from the Penal Code. According to the accounts, there would be four votes already fixed of the five that are needed to obtain a majority of five against four. Will we get that vote that we lack? I hope so.

Until now, the decriminalization of abortion has been partial and in most of the world it has been done through two mechanisms. The first is through the imposition of deadlines, which is the term established by law for the woman to have an abortion. In Europe, a woman can have an abortion before week 12. The same happens in Uruguay and Argentina. In Texas, the timeframe has just been shortened to six weeks, which is the same as banning abortion, because many women don’t know they are pregnant at six weeks.

In Colombia there is no deadline system, but there is a system for the grounds, which were established since 2006 and which allow abortion in three specific cases: when the pregnancy was the product of rape, when the mother is in danger of death and when the fetus has malformations. However, in the case of deadlines and grounds, the crime of abortion is still in force. In other words, if the woman aborts outside the deadlines or the grounds, she incurs a crime and can go to jail.

That is why it is necessary to totally decriminalize abortion. Because it is the only way for women to decide without facing criminal consequences.

The fact that today women can abort in three specific cases is an advance in terms of rights. However, it is not enough. These three causes have not made life easier for the most vulnerable women because many of them have ended up aborting in inappropriate places or having unwanted children. They continue to imprison women who abort and those who meet the requirements for the reasons are denied in many cases the procedure because doctors and hospitals invoke conscientious objection. Behind the scenes, the Catholic Church with its double standards and the evangelicals is haunting us. They want to keep us in the fold, but they can’t anymore.

It is also clear to me that the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia can only come through the Courts and not through Congress. The majority of the congressmen represent that patriarchal and macho country that looks to the navel; the same one that is defined as pro-life but that is unfazed by the massacres, or the extrajudicial executions that have been our daily bread.

Politicians, whether from the right or the left, have wanted to avoid the issue and have approached it with tweezers. Right-wing candidate María Fernanda Cabal says that no woman should go to jail for having an abortion, but she does not agree with the total decriminalization of abortion. She is satisfied with the three causes. Gustavo Petro, the left-wing candidate leading the polls, says that no woman should go to jail and proposes a “zero abortion” policy that has been understood by many feminists as a call for sexual abstinence.

To all of them, the politicians of the left, those of the center and those of the right must be notified: the time in which they ruled over our bodies is over. And if you have not understood, I repeat it: it is time for you to remove the rosaries from our ovaries. No more.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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