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Colombia decriminalizes abortion: one year anniversary

IPPF Member Association Profamilia celebrates the first year of the Constitutional Court decision that allowed the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia up to 24 weeks of gestation.

Profamilia – an IPPF Member Association and the leading sexual and reproductive rights organization in Colombia – is celebrating the first anniversary of the decriminalization of abortion across the country.

The move - Ruling C-055 - which allows abortion up to 24 weeks of gestation under any circumstance is saving lives across Colombia, and means those who have an abortion no longer face prosecution or criminalization. A historic step for the rights of women and pregnant people both in the country and across Latin America.

Over the last year, Profamilia via its nationwide network of more than 50 clinics has helped guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights, focusing on providing safe abortion care services in person as well as the provision of telemedicine for rural women.  

For a country which sees 132,000 cases annually of complications from unsafe abortions and 70 women lose their lives each year – the shift in focus to abortion as a public health issue means healthcare providers can now focus on providing life-saving care and ending unsafe abortion.

Alongside the ruling, the Ministry of Health, has also regulated abortion services throughout Colombia via Resolution 051, reiterating that abortion is an essential and urgent health service, which women, including migrant women, and pregnant people (transgender men, trans masculinities, non-binary people, among others) must be able to access without restriction and for free. Further rulings also embeds the provision of sexual and reproductive health information into Colombian health services.

Marta Royo, the Executive Director of ProFamilia, said:

"Profamilia's commitment will always be to provide comprehensive, humanized and safe services that allow free and informed decision making, and we reiterate this today”

"After one year it is possible to see the progress the country has made in terms of reproductive autonomy and rights for women and pregnant people. However, we must move from text to action, and ensure that decriminalization means healthcare. Profamilia's commitment will always be to provide comprehensive, humanized and safe services that allow free and informed decision making."

Eugenia López Uribe, Regional Director of IPPF for the Americas and The Caribbean.





Americas & the Caribbean


Abortion Care, Advocacy

Related Member Association

Asociación Pro-Bienestar de la Familia Colombiana

“Colombia has set a standard for the region, women and pregnant people deserves to choose the best decision for them and their families. In IPPF we are committed to growing the green wave to ensure that all the countries have equal rights for all, especially in Central America and the Caribbean"

Key information:
  • People who decide to terminate their pregnancies do so early. During this first year, 97.2% of the abortions performed through Profamilia were performed before the 16th week of gestation and of these, 86% before the 12th week. Only 1.1% of the procedures were performed after 24 weeks, under one of the grounds of Ruling C-355 of 2006.
  • After Ruling C-055, access to safe abortion has improved. Profamilia recorded a 65.9% increase in safe procedures. This information coincides with evidence from other countries (Uruguay, France, Portugal, Spain, Mexico City, Mexico) in which, after the legalization of voluntary interruption of pregnancy, there is no long-term increase in procedures, but rather an initial increase that then stabilizes and even decreases.
  • Profamilia has strengthened its MIA service, which accompanies and performs self-managed abortions up to 12 weeks of gestation through telemedicine. This service has reached women who wish to terminate their pregnancies in hard-to-reach municipalities such as: Leticia, in Amazonas, Bahía Solano, in Chocó, San Vicente del Caguán, in Caquetá, Dibulla, in La Guajira, among others.
  • Resolution 051 of 2023 of the Ministry of Health guarantees the service for migrant women in Colombia and recognizes this right as an essential and urgent service that can never be suspended. It also eliminates co-payments and moderating fees medical centers and reaffirms that minors under 14 years of age may decide autonomously about an abortion.
  • On February 2, 2023, the Council of Bogota approved Agreement 023, which aims to guarantee the right to abortion without barriers and promote knowledge and access to information on rights and prevention of early motherhood and fatherhood, which not only impacts the right to health, but also strengthens the sector and becomes a benchmark for other cities.
But challenges, barriers and violence persist:
  • Despite the ruling, people are still encountering barriers to abortion care from healthcare professionals who will not provide abortion care and limitations in the quality of services.
  • The elimination of barriers to access to safe abortion services should be a priority for local health authorities, who are responsible for the inspection, surveillance and control of the health system in their jurisdictions.
  • It is essential to support the approval of legislative and public policy initiatives that seek the implementation and strengthening of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in all educational institutions in the country, in order to prevent gender-based violence, promote the safe and responsible exercise of sexual and reproductive autonomy, knowledge and empowerment in rights, effective and timely access to contraceptive methods, as well as the search for a society with gender equity.


For media enquiries in English, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected] 

For media enquiries in Spanish or during UK night-time hours, please contact Christian Jimenez, ProFamilia National Communications Director on [email protected]