Colombia’s Prosecutor General dropped abortion charges against actress and singer Carolina Sabino after an outcry by women’s rights activists.
According to Semana weekly newspaper, the Prosecutor General’s Office first issued the abortion charges in a public statement on Friday scheduling a hearing for October 13 after the investigative body uncovered the actress’ abortion in July 2014.
Until Sunday when the charges were dropped, the actress, the doctor, and the clinic were due to face legal, disciplinary and administrative implications.
According to El Heraldo newspaper the Prosecutor General’s Office obtained the information through wiretapping Andres Sepulveda, a hacker who at the time was under investigation.
Sepulveda was sentenced in March 2015 to ten years in prison for illegally obtaining information about the peace process in Havana between the FARC guerrilla group and the government for political interests.
Also ex-husband of Sabino’s sister Lina Luna, the hacker had intercepted a private telephone conversation between the two sisters about the actress’ procedure.
Under orders from the Constitutional Court in 2006, abortion is legal only if the mental or physical health of the mother is at risk.
Monica Roa, strategic vice president for the international human rights organization, Women’s Link, defended Sabino on Saturday in line with this law stating that her decision was based on mental health risks, which were determined by a certified medic, “who is the only one [in these cases] who should be able to prove this.”
Roa, also a lawyer who has demanded three abortion cases in Colombia to be decriminalized, is additionally one of a number of activists who spoke out against Sabino’s case on social media, in an act of solidarity toward the actress.
Through her Twitter account, Roa said that Carolina Sabino’s “privacy must be respected,” and argued that “misinformation about the right to abortion for mental health reasons is not an excuse to violate the privacy of Carolina Sabino or threaten her criminally.”
On Sunday, three days after the charges were announced, the Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre, issued a separate public communication ordering the immediate suspension of the charges against Sabino.
“In my capacity as the Prosecutor General, I have given instructions to suspend the charges against a well-known Colombian citizen. I am a supporter of women’s right to abortion in cases accepted by our Constitutional Court,” said Montealegre.
Following the most recent turn of events in the case, in another post Roa thanked the Prosecutor General also drawing attention to the polemic way in which the case has been handled.
“Mr Prosecutor General: Leave the governance of reproductive rights to us women. Thank you for your interest. We have your support and respect.”
Señor fiscal: El liderazgo de los derechos reproductivos déjenoslo a las mujeres. Gracias por su interés. Contamos con su apoyo y respeto.
— Monica Roa (@MonicaRoa) September 14, 2015