Although the Colombian media continues to focus on feminist lawyer Monica Roa in the battle over the legalization of abortion in Colombia, a prominent pro-life leader says Roa is only the surface of a complex scheme by powerful organizations to undermine the defense of the unborn in Latin America.
Roa has been on the front page of Colombian newspapers since April, when she filed a suit that argued for the legalization of abortion in cases of rape, life of the mother or fetal deformity. In December the Constitutional Court ruled against Roa, who said she intends to re-argue the case by claiming the country’s laws defining abortion as a crime are unconstitutional.
Brazilian pro-life analyst Alberto Monteiro says that although Roa is touted as the leader of the abortion cause, on December 11, before Colombian newspapers got word of Roa’s proposal, The New York Times was already providing details on how the case was to be argued and when.
In contrast to Colombian newspapers, the New York Times did not report on the case as Roa’s personal initiative but rather pointed to “an international women’s rights group.”
The Times quoted Roa as acknowledging that there were more people behind her “initiative” and it quoted the organization Women’s Link Worldwide, which notes on its website that “the suit is part of a very important project of this entity, called High Impact Litigation in Colombia: the Unconstitutionality of Abortion (LAICIA)
The complete list of organizations involved in the effort can be found at
Monteiro also notes that in March of 2005, Roa gave a conference at the University of New York in which she provided a preview of LAICIA’s strategy in Colombia.
“We are acting as a group of theatrical actors. Each one has a role,” Roa said, outlining her strategy to use the media and her influential network of prominent lawyers to push Colombia to legalize abortion.