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Chicas colombianas en la calle con pañuelos verdes apoyando la decriminalización del aborto


Two years of a historic decision

by Marta Royo, Executive Director of Profamilia, Member Association in Colombia.

Two years ago, Colombia took a historic step on a path that has been trodden for decades by thousands of women and whose goal has always been equity, guaranteed rights and recognition of their full citizenship. Two years ago, abortion permeated our society with the force of solid arguments that demanded its guarantee as a matter of human rights, public health and social justice.  Two years ago, a sentence by Annie Ernaux, Nobel Prize in Literature (2022) echoed in my head because of the power and significance of the coincidence that reminded us that: "the impossibility of imagining that one day women could decide to have an abortion freely" had ended in Colombia with Ruling 055 of 2022.

It only took a few months to prove that the Constitutional Court was right in its decision, that the decriminalisation of abortion was the way forward, and that the weighting of women's rights brings us ever closer to that society with true gender equality for which so many of us are working.

You got it right, Court! At the time, one of the main arguments used by opponents of decriminalising abortion in the country was that the 24-week time limit was too long, which would mean that women and pregnant women would wait until they reached the maximum permitted limit to have an abortion. The truth is that no woman, of her own free will and intention, would seek to continue her pregnancy in order to terminate it at advanced gestational age. On the contrary, the balance of the first two years indicates that 9 out of 10 abortions performed at Profamilia were performed before the 12th week of gestation, that is, 92% of the total number of voluntary terminations of pregnancy were performed in the first trimester and by means of medication.

It was a good decision, Court! The same balance sheet shows an 18.7% increase in the number of abortions in the last two years, and not because women are having more abortions for the sake of it. The increase, as well as being expected, is positive because it represents the registration in the system of those who without decriminalisation would have resorted to unsafe, clandestine procedures that would put their lives at risk, but today, at least under the law, can do so legally, safely and with the opportunity to do so.





Americas & the Caribbean


Abortion Care, Sexual Health

Related Member Association

Asociación Pro-Bienestar de la Familia Colombiana

Una chica sosteniendo un pañuelo verde celebrando la despenalización del aborto en Colombia.

Juventudes de Profamilia movilizándose por la despenalización del aborto.


Colombia has perhaps one of the most robust jurisprudential frameworks in the world in terms of recognising abortion as an essential health service to which women and pregnant women have a right. And although we have come a long way, its full guarantee is still affected by structural problems that unfortunately have become so naturalised that, although they occur systematically, they no longer alarm us as they should.

The challenge now is cultural. Yes, there are abortions that occur after the 24th week because when they wanted to terminate their pregnancies in a timely manner, in the first few weeks, they encountered high barriers that are difficult to overcome because they rest on the foundations of selfish and conservative machismo.  Yes, there are minors who have abortions. But we forget that behind every minor who decides to terminate her pregnancy there is an adolescent, a girl victim of sexual violence to whom the system and we, as a society, have failed.

It is time to move forward and to leave behind biases and positions that have become stagnant over time. Sexuality is an intimate, very personal dimension, of course, but it also has a universal character and must therefore be guaranteed from a rights perspective.

Hopefully we will direct our efforts towards changing what does not work, what hurts and what violates.

In terms of human rights and public health, the only way to continue must be forward, never backward. I hope that Colombia continues this path and that it serves as a reference for the region and the world, that the green tide grows so that the wave that began in the south reaches other latitudes with guaranteed rights and sexual and reproductive autonomy for all.

About the author

Marta Royo es la Directora Ejecutiva de Profamilia Colombia.

Marta Royo is the Executive Director at Profamilia Colombia.