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12.10.08 - In April 2005, Colombian citizen Monica Róa, a former Center fellow and current attorney at Women's Link Worldwide, filed a petition with the Colombian Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of Colombia’s abortion law, which categorically prohibited abortion. Her petition argued that the Constitution of Colombia requires exceptions to the prohibition of abortion that protect a woman's fundamental rights to life, health, privacy, and dignity. In June 2005, the Center, in collaboration with Yale Law School’s Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, the Red Alas network, and the Colombian law firm Gómez-Pinzón, Linares, Samper, Súarez, Villamil, filed an amicus brief in support of that petition. The Center's brief demonstrates that Colombia's refusal to permit abortion in order to save a woman's life, protect her health, or in cases of rape or fetal impairment is out of step with widely accepted norms that recognize minimum safeguards to protect women’s basic human rights.
Summary: In 2006, in a landmark decision, the Constitutional Court ruled that abortion must be permitted when a pregnancy threatens a woman's life or health, in cases of rape, incest and in cases where the fetus has malformations incompatible with life outside the womb. The Center is now working with the Colombian Ministry of Health and local partners to ensure that the court's decision is implemented and that regulations are in place that protect women's rights and ensure access to legal abortion services.