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Colombia became the latest Latin American nation to decriminalize abortion after the country’s Constitutional Court ruled this week to allow the procedure in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, Axios reported.
The landmark ruling came after years of campaigning by women’s rights groups and changing trends in the Catholic-majority region regarding abortion. In September 2020, activists filed a lawsuit saying that the laws governing abortion were unfair to women.
Colombia’s current legislation allows the procedure in cases of rape, when it risks the mother’s life or when the fetus is unviable. All others who undergo the procedure face up to four and half years in prison.
About 400 women are charged annually – 20 percent of those are minors, government figures show. About 70 women die annually due to unsafe abortions.
Women’s rights advocates hailed the decision as historic “not only for Colombia but for all Latin America” because it establishes that abortion should be eliminated from the penal code.
The move makes Colombia the fourth Latin American country to decriminalize abortion, according to the Hill.
In 2020, Argentina legalized abortion after years of massive demonstrations. Meanwhile, Mexico’s top court ruled in September that laws criminalizing abortion are unconstitutional.