By Gudrun Schultz

  BOGOTÁ, Colombia, July 24, 2006 ( – The Colombian Constitutional Court’s decision to “de-penalize” abortions has opened the door to “authorized” abortions, which are reportedly already taking place in the country despite the lack of any official sanction, pro-life activist Dan Zeidler told

  Zeidler, the U.S. representative of the Caracas-based Latin American Alliance for the Family, told the Court’s decision has left the country with no clear legal standing on the issue. Despite voting to de-penalize abortion in certain circumstances, including for the life and health of the mother, in cases of rape and incest, and life-threatening fetal deformity, the Court has not yet specified if abortion will officially remain a crime.

“If the court has limited itself to ‘depenalization’, in a Latin America context that would mean that abortion is still a crime, but in certain circumstances would not be punished,” Zeidler said. “This would mean, for example, its performance could not be authorized in advance nor could abortion be provided, facilitated, financed or in any way promoted by the Government.”

“Depenalization would seem only to entail that once the abortion was committed, no penalty would apply if certain circumstances could be proven by the defense.”

  Zeidler said it is very unlikely, however, that the Court would have limited its decision to such a narrow application, judging by the tone of Court press statements released shortly after the decision.

“There is reason to believe their intent is to ‘legalize’ abortion or even recognize it as a ‘right’. Also, the lack of preciseness in terminology in words such as ‘health’ may leave the door open for wide-open abortion,” says Zeidler.

“A major rationale given for their decision seems to be their contention that the interests of the mother to be free of undue burdens is superior to the child’s very life.”

  Zeidler requested prayers for Colombia, the Colombian Church and the country’s pro-life leaders as they work to develop a strategy in response to the Court’s decision.

“Even if the Court ‘only’ depenalized some abortions, it is a tragedy of immense proportions for Colombia and the world. Colombia’s judicial system, including its Constitution, civil, criminal and juvenile codes has been a model of appropriate protection for the right to life of the unborn child.”

“While appropriate pro-life legal strategies are required, more important is a valiant resistance (including effective non-collaboration) with this evil on all levels, political, economic, social and religious.”

  See related LifeSiteNews coverage:

  Cardinal Pleads for Worldwide Prayers to Protect Colombia from Abortion

  A plea for Prayer for Colombia

  Colombia Urgently Needs Prayers to Stave Off Pro-Abortion Assault