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Engulfed in the feminist Green Wave, Colombia decriminalizes abortion

By Keith Chen Apr. 7, 2022

Dana Lim Art


After decades of fighting for women’s reproductive rights, pro-abortion activists in Colombia celebrated a historic victory outside of the Supreme Court of Justice in Bogotá, the capital. On Feb. 21, the Court ruled 5-4 to legalize abortion for fetuses up to 24 weeks old, challenging abortion laws that Colombia has upheld since 2006.


For 15 years, abortions were only considered legal in Colombia if the mother’s life was in danger, the pregnancy resulted from rape or the fetus was fatally deformed. Under the recent decision, these restrictions still apply to women who are pregnant for longer than 24 weeks, but any circumstance can warrant a legal abortion as long as it occurs before that time mark.


The ruling was spurred by a series of demonstrations sweeping Colombia as part of the Green Wave, a grassroots feminism movement advocating pro-choice beliefs.

At marches and protests, activists demanded changes in abortion laws, brandishing green handkerchiefs and posters—a color synonymous with the fight for legal abortion in Argentina, where the Green Wave movement emerged in 2020.

The protests have now spread throughout Latin America.


Promising to liberalize the nation, President Alberto Fernández of Argentina signed a bill that would legalize voluntary abortions in December 2020. Soon after, Uruguay and Cuba followed in Argentina’s footsteps but recieved notable backlash from religious evangelicals, who believe that abortion at any time after conception is murder and should be illegal. To demonstrate their opposition to the rulings, religious groups often lobbied outside of health clinics known to administer abortions.


Home to more than 425 million Catholics—almost 40% of the world’s total Catholic population, per the Pew Research Center—religious teachings have a major stronghold in Latin America, even influencing federal law.

With abortion often stigmatized and considered sinful in traditional Catholic ideologies, legal abortion has historically been heavily restricted in Latin America.

For instance, Chile, Uruguay and Cuba entirely prohibited abortion until recently, and countries such as Brazil, Peru and Mexico had strict abortion laws with limited exceptions. Consequently, women—especially those in low-income areas—often turned to illegal and dangerous abortion procedures that often led to sickness and death. In fact, according to the New York Times, over 70 deaths a year in Latin America are caused by abortions gone wrong.


“Besides being unjust, strict abortion laws are also ineffective—they do not actually prevent people from getting abortions, as desperate women are still willing resort to unsafe, life-threatening procedures. Many lives could be saved if more Latin American countries eased their restrictions on abortion,” Junior Samika Mathada said.


Despite the progress in Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba and, recently, Columbia, several other Latin American countries such as Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador still uphold complete bans on abortion. However, the Green Wave advocates are persistent—they continue to hold demonstrations in these countries, determined to convince them to decriminalize abortion and thereby extend greater personal freedom to their citizens.

 

About the Contributors

Keirah Chen

Entertainment & Student Spotlight Editor


Keirah Chen is a junior at Leland High School and the Entertainment and Student Spotlight page editor. She likes horror movies, reading, and traveling.












Dana Lim

Artist


Dana Lim is currently a freshman at Leland High School and is serving as an artist for The Charger Account. Some of her interests are listening to music, watching thriller shows/movies and of course sleeping.

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