BOGOTA (CWNews.com) - A United Nations commission investigating discrimination against women called on Colombia on Thursday to end its legal ban on abortion to bring the country into compliance with international conventions.
The 23-member commission, which monitors compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, said Colombian women were receiving illegal abortions despite the ban. One commission member cited a recent study that 26 out of 100 women attending universities had undergone abortions, and one out of every three women who had ever been pregnant had admitted to having them. Abortion was a medical procedure, she said, and thus, its legal prohibition was discriminatory.
They concluded that, despite political violence and natural disasters, "overturning the prohibition on abortion is something it could do automatically and without delay." Colombian representatives replied that the country was seeking to address many forms of discrimination against women in that country, including domestic violence and sexual exploitation. They said the government was fundamentally committed to basic human rights for all Colombians. "We do have some very difficult times facing us," government representative Alfonso Valdivieso told the commission, referring to the recent earthquake, political violence, drug trafficking, and educational problems. He said the government is committed to seeking peaceful and innovative solutions.