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Colombia's Highest Court Legalizes Abortion up to 24 Weeks

Abortion-rights activists celebrate after the Constitutional Court approved the decriminalization of abortion, lifting all limitations on the procedure until the 24th week of pregnancy, in Bogota, Colombia, Feb. 21, 2022.

Colombia became the latest country in Latin America to expand access to abortion Monday as the nation's Constitutional Court voted to legalize the procedure until the 24th week of pregnancy.

The decision by the tribunal of nine judges fell short of the expectations of pro-choice groups that had been pushing for abortion to be completely decriminalized in Colombia. But it was nevertheless described as a historic event by women's rights groups, which estimate 400,000 women get clandestine abortions in the country each year.

Before the ruling, Colombia allowed abortions only when a woman's life was in danger, a fetus had malformations or a pregnancy resulted from rape.

Now women in Colombia will be able to get abortions until the 24th week of their pregnancy without having to provide any justification. After the 24th week of pregnancy, abortion will still be restricted to women whose health is in danger.

Elsewhere in Latin America, Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba also allow abortions without restrictions until certain stages of pregnancy.

Latin America is also a region where some countries prohibit the termination of pregnancy without exception, including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic.