By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BOGOTÁ, March 4, 2008 ( – A woman has filed suit against a Jesuit hospital in Bogotá, Colombia, to force it to perform an abortion on her unborn child, who is now late in his sixth month of gestation.

The woman, Yolima Bernal, wants the abortion because doctors have told her the child has hydrocephalus and “serious deformities” according to a local news story.  Although the nation’s constitution holds that the right to life is “inviolable,” the Supreme Court has ruled that abortions are legal in cases of fetal deformity.

Catholic News Agency reports that Dr. Julio Cesar Castellanos, director of the hospital, says that according to the hospital’s examination, the baby’s deformities are not lethal, and that other children have survived similar conditions.

Moreover, the San Ignacio University Hospital, a Catholic institution run by the Jesuit order, is not willing to kill Bernal’s unborn child, due to the Church’s prohibition of murder. 

In order to carry out the procedure, doctors would need to inject the child with potassium chloride or saline solution to poison him, or to stab him to death with a large scalpel and cut his body into pieces, removing them one at a time.  The remaining option would be a “partial birth” abortion, in which the baby’s skull would be crushed and his brain “evacuated” after removing all but his head from the birth canal.

Although Bernal claims that the baby could die within her womb, threatening her own health, late term abortions are themselves a significant risk to the mother’s life. 

Dr. Castellanos is adamant that the abortion will not be performed at the hospital.  “Because of the Hospital’s mission and ethical position, abortions will not be performed at any time,” he told Catholic News Agency, and said that the hospital was awaiting a court ruling before taking further steps.