Colombia has opened the country’s first clinic for abortion in limited circumstances, reported local media Monday.
The pilot strategy to provide full reproductive health services has begun operating in East Central Hospital, Bogota, said newspaper La Vanguardia. However abortion is currently only legal in Colombia in instances of rape, endangerment of the mother’s life or for a foetus with extreme birth defects.
The Constitutional Court declared abortion legal in those exceptional circumstances in 2006 but this is the first time Colombia has had a purpose-built health center offering abortions. The center also aims to give comprehensive guidance and information about reproductive health, and to combat related diseases such as cervical cancer.
The legality of abortion is a hotly contested issue in Colombia, where the Catholic Church and other conservative voices remain strongly opposed to abortion in any circumstances.
According to newspaper El Meridiano, the government says it received 966 requests for legal abortions between 2006 and 2010.