July 12, 2016
Over the next ten months, I will research Colombia’s 2006 abortion law in which the Colombian Constitutional Court ended the ban on abortion, citing that an absolute ban on consenting abortion would “violate the principles of human dignity, life and equality” of women (“vulnera los principios de la dignidad humana, vida e igualdad”). The Court’s ruling goes on to defend a woman’s right to privacy, sense of self, and more.
I am interested in this law not only due to its recency, but also because of how much it varies from the United States’ own Constitutional ruling on abortion. In 1971, Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States on the basis that women have the right to privacy, and their reproductive decisions fall within that right.
Although Colombia’s ruling legalized abortion only in instances of rape, incest, or to preserve the health of the mother, their wording went much farther than the U.S. in terms of their reasoning for the ruling.
In my Fulbright research, I plan to look into the reasons for this wording from the Colombian Constitutional Court, what precedent had been set before the Court’s decision was made, and how the medical world has responded to this ruling. To do so, I will work with a few professors at la Universidad Nacional de Colombia and an obstetrician in Medellin.
At the end of my ten months, my goal is to have attended relevant Latin American conferences and written a scholarly article on an aspect of my findings. Overall, I hope to come back to the US with a better understanding of how reproductive rights law is sculpted and implemented, especially with regard to sensitive and controversial topics.