February 22, 2022

Ending Gender Violence

MADRE Helps Secure Groundbreaking Abortion Win in Colombia

Media: Statement Region: Colombia

Today, the right to an abortion is legal in Colombia and available for all persons that may be pregnant. This groundbreaking win comes after MADRE submitted an amicus brief to the Colombian Supreme Court arguing for the legalization of abortion. This is a major milestone for progressive organizers and Colombian grassroots activists, who have fought to legalize abortion for decades. Previously, abortion was permitted in Colombia when the pregnancy resulted from rape, incest, artificial insemination or the transfer of a fertilized ovum without consent, or endangerment of the mother’s health.

MADRE joined the Human Rights and Gender Justice (HRGJ) Clinic at CUNY School of Law to submit the brief to the Colombian Constitutional Court in a joint effort to decriminalize abortion in all circumstances, taking a nonbinary approach to this issue — acknowledging all persons that may become pregnant. Along with the HRGJ Clinic, MADRE submitted the brief with the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, Center for Constitutional Rights, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, OutRight Action International, Women Enabled International, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. The case, brought by Causa Justa, a coalition of Colombian organizations, argued that abortion should be removed from the Colombian penal code and instead regulated by health laws.

In September 2020, the Causa Justa movement filed a lawsuit before the Colombian Constitutional Court arguing that criminalizing abortion in all other circumstances creates a misconception that abortion is always illegal, which leads to a lack of access and stigma when obtaining services. This not only deterred those needing an abortion from seeking one, but also deterred health providers from offering abortion services in fear of violating criminal law.

“Today’s ruling paves the way for greater protections and more rights, allowing abortion to become widely available across the country. This is a historic moment in the reproductive justice discourse.” Professor Lisa Davis of CUNY Law School and MADRE Senior Legal Advisor.

Read MADRE Submits Amicus Brief to Colombia Constitutional Court on Groundbreaking Abortion Rights Case to learn more about the years-long fight behind this historic win.

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MADRE created a manual for women and human rights defenders on documenting gender-based violence and rights violations so they can find justice and end the cycle of violence in their communities. We also produced a guide on leaving Afghanistan safely for those in the country facing life-threatening risks under the Taliban regime.