Friday, July 20, 2007
Should you need a reminder of how precious our reproductive rights are, watch this incredibly moving video about the groundbreaking litigation in Colombia to legalize abortion. This story underscores the irony that, while countries worldwide are moving to liberalize their abortion laws, the United States is sliding in the opposite direction.
The short (15 min.) film (in Spanish with English subtitles) gives fascinating insights into what made the campaign successful, including the change in the tone of media coverage of abortion, the accompanying change in public discourse on the issue, the appeal to international human rights principles as a litigation strategy, and the particularities of litigating in the Colombian Constitutional Court.
Martha Solay González, a 37-year old single mother of four girls, ages 18, 7, 6, and 3, died on June 11, 2007. Martha bravely told her story to support the liberalization of abortion laws in Colombia even though it was too late for her. Her life and words will always be an inspiration to us, so we can continue our work in the struggle for a society where gender is never a barrier for the full enjoyment of human rights.
At age 34, González was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She needed an abortion before she could receive the chemotherapy and radiation treatments she needed, but under Columbian law at the time, abortion was illegal under all circumstances. The law now permits abortions in cases of rape and incest, if the woman's life or health (mental or physical) is in danger, or in case of certain fetal anomalies.
About the video:
On May 10, 2006, the Colombian Constitutional Court issued a historic decision liberalizing the country's abortion laws, which previously were among the world’s most restrictive. The video explores the process of filing the lawsuit and the debate surrounding it.
For more about the decision, see this post: Colombian Court Ruling Legalizing Abortion Now Available in English.