Colombia’s Constitutional Court shut down a landmark abortion case on Monday that divided the South American country and offered what experts called an opportunity to “set a precedent for the region”.
For 14 years, Colombian law allowed for abortions under three circumstances: if the mother’s life was endangered, if the pregnancy was a product of rape or if the fetus is fatally deformed.
A case, brought forward by a hardline anti-abortion rights activist, sought to eliminate those exceptions, but instead offered the court an opening to permit abortions during the first months of pregnancy.
On Monday afternoon, the magistrates announced in a 6-3 decision that it would maintain the status quo, a move hailed both as a disappointment and a victory for women’s rights activists.
“The court is missing an opportunity to expand abortion access,” said Paula Avila-Guillen, director of Latin America Initiatives for the Women’s Equality Center. “However, it’s a verification that we’re not moving backward.”