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Colombia high court OKs some abortions

first_imgBOGOTA, Colombia – Colombia’s highest court has legalized abortion under certain limited circumstances. The decision is expected to embolden women’s rights groups across Latin America to use courts in their countries to try to roll back some of the world’s most stringent abortion laws. In a 5-3 decision handed down late Wednesday, the Constitutional Court overturned Colombia’s complete ban on abortion and ruled that the procedure would be permitted when the life of a mother is in danger or the fetus is expected to die or in cases of rape or incest. Women’s rights organizations in places as varied as Argentina and New York, where several groups that closely tracked the case are based, hailed the ruling. “This is a triumph for Colombian and Latin American women,” said Monica Roa, a lawyer in Bogota who brought the suit on the grounds that by banning abortion, Colombia was violating its own commitments to international human rights treaties ensuring a woman’s right to life and health. The court, explaining its decision Thursday night, said the life of a fetus could not be put ahead of the life of a mother and called the complete abortion ban “disproportionate” and “irrational.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsAdvocates of abortion rights say both arguments are applicable to other Latin American countries as well. “Human rights also apply to women and abortion falls within the sphere of human rights,” Roa said. “The courts cannot ignore that interpretation.” Her suit was backed financially by Women’s Link Worldwide, a Madrid-based group for which she works. But opponents in this heavily Roman Catholic region saw the decision as akin to legalizing murder. Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, Colombia’s highest Roman Catholic Church official, told RCN radio here that the decision was “an attack on human life.” “The depenalization of abortion is a judicial stupidity,” Trujillo said. “The Constitutional Court does not have the right to say there is or there is not a crime. This is a bad decision, the fruit of international pressures that disrespect many Colombians.”last_img read more