BOGOTA, Colombia—This week, thousands of demonstrators clad in green, a color that has become the symbol of South America’s pro-choice movements, celebrated in the streets of Bogota as the Constitutional Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Colombia. The verdict was the culmination of a legal battle waged since September 2020 by a collection of over 80 women’s organizations calling themselves the “Just Cause Movement” that slowly wound its way to the nation’s highest court.
Colombia joins Mexico and Argentina to become the third country in Latin America to decriminalize or legalize abortion in just over a year. A regional grassroots women’s rights movement, which analysts have dubbed “the green wave,” is making inroads across Latin America, a region that has historically imposed draconian restrictions on abortion. Activists are hoping the decision will build momentum for pro-choice struggles in other Latin American countries.
The 5-4 ruling from Colombia’s highest court allows for termination of pregnancies up to the 24th week of gestation, as well as three exceptions beyond that period: for reasons of health, if the pregnancy resulted from a crime committed against the mother or if there is a malformation of the fetus.