BOGOTA, November 19, 2001 ( – Colombia’s Health Ministry has approved the sale of the abortifacient morning after pill. “It is a tool that is cheap and safe,” said acting Minister of Health Miguel Rueda, in a television interview. The Catholic Church condemned the move reminding politicians that taking the pill after intercourse is “direct abortion.”

In July the Catholic Church warned doctors, medical practitioners and judges who participate in procuring abortion that they may face excommunication. In a letter signed by all Colombian Catholic bishops, Columbians were called to practice conscientious objection and refuse to participate in the “abominable crime of abortion.” In June, the Columbian 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.

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