Colombia’s State Council has suspended the decree decriminalizing abortion in three special circumstances, saying that the ruling needs to be corrected and properly defined, preventing medical clinics from performing abortions for the time being.
The move was ordered by the First Section of the High Court, which is currently studying a request for annulment of the motion. The judges seek to establish whether the ruling should be enacted by Congress and by legislation, not by the government.
The Constitutional Court recently decreed that abortion was permissible in three instances; namely, rape, foetal malformation, or if pregnancy threatens the life of the mother.
However, Colombia’s Inspector General, Alejandro Ordoñez, has requested that the State Council nullify both the decree and the corresponding order of Tuesday that ordered the ministries of Education and Social Protection to develop a national campaign educating Colombians of women’s sexual and reproductive rights, and the instances in which abortion is permissible.
Ordoñez, who is a public opponent of abortion, said that the guardianship defining the subject, as outlined by three judges, clashed with previous rulings made by the full Court, reported newspaper El Tiempo.
“The order to design and set in motion massive campaigns promoting abortion as a right is superceded by jurisprudential guidelines laid out by the same Court in its C-355 ruling of 2006, when it maintained [abortion's] character as a crime with three exceptions without referring to it as a human right,” Ordoñez.
He arged that the full Court needed to decide whether this new measure superceded previous revisions, and that it should not be left to the revision room, which in this instance was composed of judges Humberto Sierra Porto, Jorge Ivan Palacio and Juan Carlos Henao.
Ordoñez also expressed his doubts regarding pronouncements made by the three judges regarding limitations put upon doctors and judges who invoke conscientious objection. The ruling states that individual doctors may invoke the objection but that institutions and judges may not.
“The Inspector General’s office considers that the power to regulate the constitutional right to freedom of conscience is reserved for the legislator,” he said.
Abortion rights has been a hot issue recently in Colombia. In July, it was revealed that doctors refused to perform an abortion for a thirteen-year-old girl who was raped by her cousin.