The leader of the Referendum for Life initiative, Sara Castellanos, said the initiative already has the necessary signatures to request a popular consultation that protects the lives of the unborn in the Colombian constitution.

The goal of the promoters of Referendum for Life is to amend Article 11 of the country’s Magna Carta, which currently states that “the right to life is inviolable. There shall be no death penalty.”

If successful, that the right to life is inviolable “from conception” would be added to the constitutional article. To advance a referendum, it must have the support of 5% of Colombians eligible to vote, or 1.95 million of the 39 million voters.

In a statement to Semana magazine, Castellanos assured that the group has more than 2 million signatures to be presented on July 25 to the National Registrar’s Office for the purpose of its endorsement.

If the registrar’s office validates the necessary amount of signatures, the initiative will go to Congress to be debated and, if approved, a referendum will be held.

“What we want is that we do not fail to recognize that there is a life that must have a right to be born,” Castellanos said.

In 2006, the Constitutional Court of Colombia decriminalized abortion on the grounds of danger to the life of the mother, fetal deformities incompatible with life, and in cases of rape.

In February 2021, the court liberalized abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. After this time frame, abortion is decriminalized only under the conditions established in 2006.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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