The Colombian government is planning to propose Congress to approve legislation that would allow a “broad decriminlization” of abortion, the country’s Justice Ministry said Thursday.
Abortion is currently only legal in instances of rape, when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life, or if the child has extreme birth defects.
Following a recent push towards a more conservative approach initiated by the Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez’, Minister Ruth Stella Correa and a number of coalition lawmakers showed interest in allowing women more freedoms related to abortion instead.
“It is beyond doubt that to avoid clandestine abortions and amplify the rights of women, Colombia needs a much broader decriminalization than the current [legislation] that allows the voluntary interruption of pregnancy,” a document posted on the Justice Ministry’s website said.
According to local newspaper, El Espectador, the proposal can count on the support of a number of members within the congressional coalition.
“We support the justice minister’s decision and think that Colombia must have this debate,” said Liberal Party Representative Simon Gaviria, adding that “we think that women’s rights should be priority.”
Armando Benedetti of the more conservative U Party, told television network RCN that he “would completely agree with decriminalizing abortion, to me it is a woman’s right, the woman owns her body, her future, her dignity and also she who must choose what or what not happens.”
However, the proposed debate let to a fierce response by the Conservative Party.
“It is absurd that the Justice Ministry, which is led by a lady, is in the process of turning Colombia into an abortive country,” said conservative senator Jose Dario Salazar. “Absurd projects like this that go against the constitution and against life and human rights should not be promoted,” the Conservative Party politician said.
The renewed debate on Colombia’s abortion laws followed a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court that called for an amplication of women’s rights and forced the inspector general to retract statements opposing birth control and the morning-after pill.