Colombian High Court Says Aborting Disabled Children Can Never Be a Crime

By | February 24, 2022

Unborn baby carved into a mountain in Colombia.

NEW YORK, February 25 (C-Fam) Under the influence of UN bodies, Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled that abortion-on-demand cannot be criminalized until after the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy. The Court goes further and says aborting disabled babies and babies conceived after rape can never be criminalized.

The high court called the decision to abort a child in the womb “an intimate, highly personal, and non-transferable decision” that “constitutes one of the principal expressions of human nature.”

The 5-4 decision emphasizes that abortion is not just a right for women but for all “gestating persons,” a term understood to refer to the gender confused.

The high court said it is through abortion that women, children, and “gestating persons” exercise their sexual and reproductive freedom and put into practice their own individual system of beliefs and values.

The reasoning in the Court’s decision follows the lead of the legislature of Argentina, and the Supreme Court of Mexico, both of which over the last two years recognized abortion as a right for all “gestating persons.” It remains unclear if this refers only to women who identify as men or also men who identify as women.

The Court’s ruling is based on the non-binding recommendations of international human rights bodies of the United Nations and the Organization of American States. No United Nations or Inter-American human rights treaty declares abortion an international right. In fact, none of the treaties Colombia has ratified even mentions abortion. Abortion groups and their supporters in governments and judiciaries, nevertheless, claim that abortion is an international right based on the non-binding recommendations of international human rights bodies, a claim that is rejected by many human rights experts.

Justice Jorge Ibáñez Najar sounded a note of discord during the judicial debates of the case brought by the global abortion law group Center for Reproductive Rights. He called the decision “unreasonable and disproportionate” and said that it failed to give any reason as to why life should only be protected beginning from the twenty-fourth week of pregnancy and not before.

“This arbitrary decision implies a rollback of protections for the rights of the unborn, and a failure to meet the obligation to protect life,” he said.

Justice Julio Andres Ossa Santamaria also dissented. While he recognized a more limited right-to-abortion on demand, he said the Court was “usurping legislative prerogatives” by declaring a sweeping rule about abortion-on-demand.

It isn’t the first time that the high court of Columbia waded into abortion politics. In 2006 the Court declared that abortion cannot be considered a crime in cases of rape, when a mother’s life is in danger because of a pregnancy and when the child is disabled, and that the government has a duty to facilitate access to abortion. While the executive branch has put in place administrative regulations to permit abortion in public hospitals, abortion remains a crime from the moment of conception. Members of Congress have rejected every legislative proposal to decriminalize abortion before then and since.

Colombia’s President Iván Duque Márquez warned against a decision imposing abortion-on-demand when the Constitutional Court began debating the case last year. He said a loose abortion regime would be “too big a change” and that it would “clash hard with our society.” His predecessor Alvaro Uribe called on politicians to prepare a referendum on abortion if the high court ruled in such a way.