Colombian Pro-Life Leader Says Court’s Abortion Decriminalization Made Women More Vulnerable
Álvarez maintained that, instead of abortion, Colombia should implement public policies related to prevention.
A local pro-life leader believes that with the recent ruling of the Colombian Constitutional Court decriminalizing abortion up to six months of pregnancy, women will be “more unprotected” and their rights will be “more vulnerable.”
“The terrible decision that the Constitutional Court has made … is barbaric. Abortion is horrible at any week of pregnancy, but allowing abortions in such advanced stages is going to affect women psychologically,” Deisy Álvarez, executive director of the Red Provida Latin American Pro-life Network, said in an interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency.
On Feb. 21, the Constitutional Court of Colombia ruled 5-4 that abortion “will only be punishable when performed after the twenty-fourth (24) week of pregnancy and, in any case, this time limit will not apply. to the three grounds established in judgment C-355 of 2006,” which are risk to the life of the mother, sexual abuse, or fetal deformity. This effectively means elective abortion up to 24 weeks.
Álvarez said that with this ruling “women are going to be more unprotected” since “a message is being sent to Colombian society, especially to the new generations, that if you believe that something stands between your dreams and life projects, even if it’s your own child, you can kill him.”
“No abortion is safe, no matter how much they are performed with all the asepsis protocols, it always has a physical or psychological consequence. Women's rights will be more vulnerable because one right cannot override the other,” she reiterated.
The pro-life leader pointed out that abortions in Colombia “are going to skyrocket because they are practically being allowed under all circumstances” including mental distress, which in practice means elective abortion.
The Red Provida Latam was started in 2009 by a group of young people from Medellín to protect life, women, and the family, and promote the culture of life. It expanded to a regional level and today provides support to institutions and pregnant mothers.
Álvarez maintained that instead of abortion, what should be implemented in Colombia are public policies related to prevention, such as values-based sex education and “implementing listening centers” so a professional can address the problems “that affect or make it difficult for the women, so they can move forward.”
The pro-life leader said, "it was necessary to work with women on the issue of human dignity, promote the culture of life and implement public resources in prevention, so that young people are aware that sexual relations must begin in emotional stability, in a home, at the right time, when the life of a child can be taken on.”
Álvarez said that “we institutions that defend life and do comprehensive work with these women should have real resources to help them, and not such that abortion is the only option.”
“As Red Provida Latam we give options to women. We tell them what the consequences are if you decide to abort, if you decide to put it up for adoption, and what the consequences are if you decide to keep it. We tell her how we are going to support her and how her life can change for the better,” she explained.
Álvarez added that when the pro-life network accompanies these mothers, they are overflowing with gratitude.
This is due, the pro-life leader said, to the fact that groups like the ones she directs help “moms so they can see the plus side of motherhood, so they can see that baby as an unexpected blessing and that thanks to that baby many skills can be developed, unlike what society sells.”
“What a woman in an unexpected pregnancy needs is support from society, from institutions, as Red Provida Latam does. The woman needs to be told that she’s not alone and that help materializes in different aspects, such as food, education, housing, medicine, becoming a professional, getting a job and economic stability,” she said.
Regarding the future of Red Provida Latam in the midst of the current situation, she said that there is “too much work throughout the Colombian territory.”
“Our dream is to be an answer in reserve for the woman who is thinking about having an abortion. We need to raise awareness that what is in a woman's womb is a human being and for that we are going to deploy our entire line of care and prevention (with training and awareness in schools, parishes, movements and universities),” she explained.
Álvarez added that Red Provida Latam seeks “to make known what abortion really is and then people can decide whether to support it.”
“Another focus will be mobilizing strategic alliances with other pro-life institutions in the country to increase care centers for mothers in a crisis pregnancies. We also need a pro-life center in front of every abortion center,” she commented.
“Today abortion centers are going to multiply in Colombia, because that’s the business. But as a pro-life community, we must provide an immediate response to women in need and rescue them,” she concluded.