Colombia: attorney general presses Catholic hospitals on abortion
Bogota, May. 13, 2008 (LifesiteNews.com/CWN) - Colombia's Attorney General, Edgardo Maya, is disappointed that only 40 decriminalized abortions have been carried out since 2006, when the nation's constitutional court decriminalized abortion in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, or threats to their life or health.
Maya wants more such certified abortions to take place, and is insisting that to accomplish this goal the nation's private medical institutions will have to provide abortions, despite conscientious objection by Catholic hospitals and institutions in which all doctors have refused to carry out the procedure. Maya's office has issued a report complaining about "the obstacles and difficulties in gaining access to the service of voluntary interruption of pregnancy."
Among the "obstacles" denounced by Maya is "objections of conscience by institutions as a justification to deny the service" and "interference by public officials and workers in private institutions for the purpose of dissuading women from interrupting their pregnancies." One such hospital is San Ignacio, a Catholic institution that has refused to do abortions. As a result of their decision they have been sued and Attorney General Maya has requested an investigation by the nation's Ministry of Health.
Maya's report also laments the fact that public officials are still requiring authorization for abortions from parents of children younger than 14 years of age, which the constitutional court struck down in its ruling in 2006.
The Attorney General's office has created a monitoring system for legalized abortions "with the purpose of tracking the fulfillment of the norms."
Maya's menacing statements against Catholic hospitals and pro-life public officials are echoed by Woman's Link Worldwide, an international pro-abortion organization, which recently stated in an editorial that the most "worrying" obstacle to abortion in Colombia is "the misuse and abuse of conscientious objection."
"The constitutional court clearly established that only individual doctors and not institutions can be conscientious objectors," observed Monica Roa, of Women's Link.?Roa also complains that doctors in public hospitals are refusing to do abortions on grounds of conscience, which they claim contradicts the constitutional court's ruling, and that doctors who object are not being required to make a referral to another physician.
Mónica Roa, the attorney who presented the suit against the nation's pro-life legislation in 2006, recently told the Colombian publication El Tiempo that she wants efforts to be "doubled", in the publication's words, to carry out the constitutional court's sentence. "The period of transition has ended," she told El Tiempo. "Now it is necessary to have more effective control of the application of the sentence."