.- Members of Colombia’s Constitutional Court—equivalent to the US Supreme Court—said last week lower court judges may not refuse to hear abortion cases out of conscientious objection and that those who do so would be subject to sanctions.
According to Caracol Radio, several high court justices said judges in Colombia cannot use conscientious objection as a reason for not accepting cases in which a petitioner is requesting permission for an abortion.
“In Colombia, judges are obliged to rule on the law and not on consciences,” they maintained, arguing that “the Code of Penal Procedure” outlines the reasons for which a judge may recuse himself or refuse to hear a case, and “conscientious objection is not among them.”
The justices’ statements came as three local judges in Santa Marta refused to allow a woman who is six months pregnant to receive an abortion. The mother alleges that doctors have determined her baby has irreversible deformities.
The justices interviewed by Caracol Radio also maintained that in their recent ruling on abortion they did not establish that “clinics or medical centers require patients to get permission from a judge to obtain an abortion.”