July, 2001 - The Catholic Church in Colombia has warned doctors, medical practitioners, and judges who participate in procuring abortion that they may face excommunication. In a letter released Wednesday, signed by all of the country's bishops, Colombians were called on to practice conscientious objection and refuse to participate in the "abominable crime of abortion."
"Believers can legally and conscientiously object with validity. That means that women, doctors, and even judges can excuse themselves from participating in this type of crime, because their beliefs do not permit it," says the letter.
Last month, the Colombian Supreme Court ruled that abortion "in those cases where the woman has been a victim of violence, rape, or non-consensual artificial insemination" is not punishable by prison. The bishops said they would take steps to have the new law declared unconstitutional.
In 1999 the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) demanded that Colombia legalize abortion, as it reviewed that country's UN compliance report.