On the same day the U.S. Supreme Court ended constitutional rights to abortion, leaving the issue up to state legislatures, the Iván Duque administration in Colombia asked his country’s top court to overturn a historic February 2022 decision decriminalizing terminations of pregnancies at up to 24 weeks.
Procedures could still take place after that point in cases of rape, fetal malformation, or risks to the mother’s physical or mental health.
Though the decision has not regulated legal and safe access to an abortion, it indicated that the government was responsible for creating and implementing public policies regarding women’s reproductive rights. The ruling was seen as a victory by feminists and human rights groups.
The decision — made by a close 5-4 majority — has been challenged by anti-abortion groups in Colombia, who staged multiple street demonstrations. President Duque was opposed to the ruling, saying the five Supreme Court justices “cannot propose something as atrocious to a nation as allowing one’s life to be interrupted up to six months of pregnancy.”
Multiple Colombian experts believe the ruling will not be revoked, but the timing of the request suggests the outgoing right-wing administration may try to change the verdict before left-wing Gustavo Petro takes office as president on August 7. Vice President-elect Francia Márquez openly supports advancing abortion rights.