Tuesday. 18.06.2024

Colombia's Constitutional Court on Monday ruled that abortion should only be punishable when performed after the 24th week of pregnancy, effectively decriminalizing the practice in the South American country.

In 2006, Colombia had partially legalized abortion when a court ruled that women would be allowed to terminate a pregnancy in one of three situations: in case of rape or incest, in case of a fatal fetal abnormality, or if the pregnancy presents a danger to the mother's physical or mental health.

The Constitutional Court on Monday reaffirmed that no time limits would be in place in those three scenarios.

The court also called on the Colombian government to urgently "formulate and implement a comprehensive public policy" to protect the rights of pregnant women, such as supporting family planning and sex education, support with adoptions and eliminating obstacles to abortion care.

Colombia is the latest Latin American country to relax abortion restrictions.

Latin American countries

Mexico's Supreme Court last year ruled that a total abortion ban was unconstitutional, though abortion rights are still not uniform across the country, while last week Ecuador's parliament passed a law that will permit abortions in case of rape.

In Argentina, a law allowing abortions up to the 14th week of pregnancy was passed late last year.

In most Latin American countries, abortions are permitted only in exceptional cases while in El Salvador abortions are completely banned and punishable by imprisonment and even miscarriages can be subject to drastic penalties.

Colombia's top court decriminalizes abortion up to 24 weeks