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Thursday, March 24, 2022 | News

Abortion decriminalized in Colombia: both a win and a starting point

On February 21st, hundreds of women shook their bright green Aborto Libre scarves in the air and hugged one another—celebrating in the streets of Bogota, Colombia—after the Constitutional Court approved the decriminalization of abortion, which lifted all limitations on the procedure until the 24th week of pregnancy.

After sweeping victories for reproductive justice in the courts of Argentina and Mexico, the Green Wave had just claimed its latest triumph.

Driven by grassroots mobilizations and stigma-busting social campaigns, Colombia’s win was based on a lawsuit brought to that country’s Constitutional Court. Ipas Central America and Mexico supported the Causa Justa — or Just Cause — movement, a coalition of 100 organizations and experts committed to advancing reproductive justice, by submitting an amicus brief endorsing this lawsuit and asking the Constitutional Court of Colombia to decriminalize abortion, arguing that abortion is essential health care that should not be regulated in the penal system.

The Green Wave is a shining example of collective transnational power, built on grassroots feminist partnerships. “When we think about the Green Wave, we think about women marching in the streets—and that’s great! It is that, but it is also a very sophisticated movement where we have been learning how to use the different branches of political systems,” says María Antonieta Alcalde, director of Ipas Central America and Mexico.

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