Lawyer Continues Fight to Legalize Abortion in Columbia

After Columbia’s Constitutional Court rejected a lawsuit demanding access to abortion, Columbian lawyer Monica Roa yesterday filed a second suit that specifically addresses the questions raised by the Court in hope of overturning the ban. While Roa is filing the suit as a private citizen, she is supported by Women’s Link Worldwide, a women’s rights group based in Spain. Human Rights Watch and the International Planned Parenthood Federation were among the 397 amicus curiae in support of her case.

According to the New York Times, the first suit claimed that the human rights to life and health, as specified in international treaties, were being ignored by Columbia’s ban on abortion, which makes the procedure illegal regardless of circumstances, including the endangerment of the woman’s life. The ban has not prevented abortions from taking place: the Associated Press reports that 300,000 pregnancies are terminated each year and that 30 percent of women who underwent illegal abortions endured complications. According to Women’s Link, the 300,000 abortions make up 24 percent of pregnancies in the country.

“We are in a race against the clock. It wouldn’t be right for the country to go on holiday while women are still dying. To delay this decision any further would be an unconscionable act and negligent to the extreme,” said Roa.

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AP 12/12/05; NY Times 12/11/05; WomenÕs Link Worldwide press release 12/12/05

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