Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
GONZALEZ VELEZ, Ana Cristina. Current situation with abortion in Colombia: between illegality and reality. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2005, vol.21, n.2, pp. 624-628. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2005000200030.
This article discusses the illegality of abortion in Colombia, situating this country within the 0.4% of the world population where abortion is completely banned. Absolute criminalization of abortion turns it into a public health matter and produces social inequality. The Colombian legislation has always disregarded women as individuals and as persons in full possession of their legal rights. In contrast to a comprehensive conceptualization of sexual and reproductive rights, the various abortion bills merely refer either to "morally unacceptable" situations such as pregnancy resulting from rape or to therapeutic motives. Contradictions between illegality and reality give rise to a public discourse that features rejection of abortion practices, in keeping with the prevailing stance of the ecclesiastic hierarchy, while in practice, and at the private level, people resort to voluntary interruption of pregnancy under conditions of safety and confidentiality, at least for women from the higher socioeconomic strata. This situation not only causes social inequality but also reflects how laws lose meaning and create the collective impression of being useless or unnecessary, thus undermining the state's governing role.
Keywords : Criminal Abortion; Social Inequity; Legislation; Abortion.