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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 07:07 GMT 08:07 UK
Colombia court eases abortion ban
Anti-abortion rally, Bogota, Colombia, April 2006
The issue of abortion has aroused strong passions among Colombians
Colombia's constitutional court has voted to partially legalise abortion.

The court decided to permit terminations in cases of rape, incest or if the life of the mother or foetus is in danger.

The issue has long been the subject of debate in the majority Roman Catholic country, whose president, Alvaro Uribe, had warned against easing the ban.

The ruling, by a majority of 5-3, brings Colombia into line with most of its Latin America neighbours.

"The court fulfilled its duty in recognising the right of Colombian women," lawyer and pro-choice campaigner Monica Roa was quoted by the Associated Press (AP) news agency as telling Caracol radio.

Prior to the ruling, anti-abortion groups took out advertisements in the Colombian press, calling abortion a "moral problem and not an issue of public health," AP reported.

Following the ruling, El Salvador and Chile remain the only Latin American countries where abortion is banned under any circumstances.

It is estimated about 400,000 clandestine abortions are carried out in Colombia each year.

Country profile: Colombia
04 May 06 |  Country profiles

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