Colombia on Monday became the latest country in Latin America to expand access to abortion, as the nation's highest court legalized the procedure for as late as 24 weeks.
The Constitutional Court in Bogota ruled that abortions can be performed in Colombia for up to six months. It's the first time the country has legalized the procedure for women beyond cases of rape or to save the life of the mother.
Colombia decriminalises abortion in first 24 weeks https://t.co/zG3dSZBlHI— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) February 22, 2022
The decision ends a 20-year battle by advocates to legalize abortion and remove it from the criminal code -- but it falls short of the complete decriminalization that activists were hoping for.
"We knew this was not an easy fight, but at some point, it had to happen," Mariana Ardila, a women's rights activist and lawyer, told CNN. "Of course, while we were hoping for full decriminalization, and we will keep fighting for it, this is an important step forward for us."
Colombia is the third Latin American country to approve abortion rights, following Mexico and Argentina.
Various groups celebrated the decision on Monday in front of the court building in Bogota.
Colombia, 74% Roman Catholic, just decriminalized abortion.— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️⚧️ (@cmclymer) February 21, 2022
"This is a historic moment for Colombia and the region," Colombia human rights attorney Paula Avila-Guillen said in a tweet. "I couldn't be happier."
Argentina passed a law in 2020 that legalized abortion after lawmakers reversed a vote two years earlier that blocked a wider-ranging abortion bill.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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