The Colombian Ministry of Health issued on September 29 a circular to guarantee the route that gives safe access to the voluntary interruption of pregnancywhich complies with the ruling of the Constitutional Court that decriminalized abortion at the beginning of the year.
In order to comply with the provisions of the Constitutional Court through judgment C-055 of 2022the Ministry of Health and Social Protection issued circular 044 of September 28 of this year,” the portfolio reported in a statement, one day after the celebration of the Global Day of Action for legal and safe abortion.
In the circular, among others, instructions are given to strengthen “access to information on sexual rights and reproductive rights” and carry out actions to “identify, prevent and act against physical and sexual violence, guaranteeing access to the services available for their care, seeking to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion.”
In addition, it specified that “comprehensive health care should not impose barriers or delays for the provision of the service” of voluntary interruption of pregnancy. Johanna Barbosa, director of Promotion and Prevention, indicated that the aim is to “safely guarantee women throughout the national territory” access to abortion and thus “prevent and minimize complications and deaths in women due to access to clandestine sites in which abortions are performed without guaranteeing safety, authorization and quality conditions”.
“For this portfolio it is of vital importance, in addition to this measure, to continue strengthening all strategies in public health, specifically promotion, prevention and education focused on the responsible exercise of sexual and reproductive health.Barbosa added.
The ruling issued by the highest Colombian court last February, after months of obstacles and delays, modifies article 122 of the Penal Code decriminalizing abortion up to the 24th week of gestation, maintaining the three grounds decriminalized in 2006 with no pregnancy limit: health and risk of the mother; malformation of the fetus, and rape or incest.
Until then, the crime of the Criminal Code che condemned the woman to abort with up to 54 months in prison. The Ministry of Health indicated that this circular complies with “what was ordered” in the Court’s ruling, in which it asked Congress and the Government to “in the shortest possible time, formulate and implement a comprehensive public policy -including legislative and administrative measures that are required, depending on the case, to avoid wide margins of lack of protection for the dignity and rights of pregnant women”.
(See: Ministry of Equality: there is already a draft of the bill).
Precisely on Wednesday, feminist groups took to the streets of the main cities of Colombia to celebrate this historic ruling, which came after years of struggles and impediments, and to remember that despite the decriminalization Barriers still exist for women who want to access a voluntary termination of pregnancy.