Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez on Thursday said abortion constitutes a crime against humanity.
According to W Radio, Ordoñez said that from a moral and social point of view abortion constitutes a crime against the family, which in turn is a crime against humanity.
Colombian law allows abortion in cases of rape, severe fetal deformity, or if the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.
The inspector general, an outspoken Catholic, is preparing a law to put before Congress allowing doctors to refuse to perform an abortion on grounds of conscience.
At the moment, doctors who refuse to perform a legal abortion risk a lawsuit for negligence. All clinics are required by law to safeguard the right to abortion, by referring patients to another institution if they lack doctors willing to perform the procedure, but this is not always enforced.
Recently released statistics showed that fetal abnormality was the reason cited in 61% of abortions performed in Colombia between 2006 and 2009, while 20% were due to risk to the life of the woman in question, while rape or incest was cited in over 18% of cases.
In 2009 health insurance company EPS Coomeva was sued for failing to provide a termination to a 13-year-old rape victim in Cucuta, north-east Colombia. She was denied an abortion more than seven times at various hospitals, and was forced to give birth to a baby who was then given up for adoption.
Around 300,000 clandestine abortions are performed each year, according to government figures.