Judges on Colombia’s constitutional court voted on Monday to decriminalize abortion until 24 weeks of gestation, the court said in a statement, in a victory for abortion rights groups which sued to have the procedure removed from the penal code.
The decision adds Colombia to a list of Latin American countries which have recently liberalized abortion access, including Mexico and Ecuador.
Abortion was partially legalized in Colombia under a 2006 court decision which allowed it only in cases of rape, fatal fetal deformity and health of the woman, without any time limits.
Under Monday’s ruling, backed by five of nine judges, women will not be prosecuted for seeking abortions up to 24 weeks of gestation, after which the procedure will only be allowed under the original three conditions.
“The practice of abortion will only be punishable when it is conducted after the twenty-fourth week of gestation and, in all cases, this time limit will not apply to the three conditions laid out in Ruling C-355 of 2006,” the court said in a statement.