August 16th, 2010 at 11:00 pm
(Translated by Emily Schmitz, a CSN Volunteer Translator)
IN A HISTORIC DECISION in 2006, the Constitutional Court decriminalized abortion in three circumstances: rape, endangerment of the mother’s health, and fetal malformation.
The decision set forth norms to guarantee the safety and accessibility of abortions. Three years later these norms remain generally unregulated, while the Court declares that school lectures on women’s sexual and reproductive rights are a necessity. These are human rights, along with many others; as such, they form the foundation of all democratic states.
Despite this, the Inspector General of the Nation, Alejandro Ordóñez, has stated that the Court has overstepped its jurisdiction by adjudicating these rights. He added that such a decision would not only expose students to a complex problematic, but would also lead to its increased practice. This is undoubtedly an unusual argument. The complexity of this issue lies in the convergence of various rights; if the abuse of one results in its elimination, we end up with nothing. Moreover it is surprising that – after living in an enlightened period – schools attempt to ignore constitutional rights, whatever they may be.
Although the Inspector General’s petition to nullify these rights was rejected, the episode leaves a bitter taste: it reflects a poor management of power, which is currently being denounced internationally. On July 8, 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a letter from the Reproductive Rights Center in New York asking that she reconsider the donation from the United States that helps promote rights development in Colombia, taking into account that the Inspector General administers the 2.9 million dollars sent annually by USAID.
In the letter, Nancy Nothop, president of the organization, stated that the current Inspector General does not utilize high ranking officials to promote human rights but instead takes steps which actually undermine recently adopted rights. Women’s Link Worldwide, an international organization that promotes gender equality and defends legislation upholding women’s rights, supports the New York Center. In a press release, Nothop lamented the deterioration of these rights and shared her hopes that the Secretary of State would address the issue in her visit. Instead in her speech, Clinton put limits on Plan Colombia and Free Trade.
One fact remains clear: the government mismanagement that has given the Inspector General’s office [too much] power is widely acknowledged. One example is the nomination of Ylva Myriam Hoyos for Inspector General for the defense of the rights of children, adolescents, and the family: she openly opposes the decriminalization of abortion. Reports from the New York Center state that Hoyos founded the Colombia Future Network, an organization that on numerous occasions has successfully blocked constitutional norms that permit women’s access to abortion procedures.
We are forced to ask: what is the sense in appointing a rights advocate who seeks only to violate that right?
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