The bishop's comments come as the Constitutional Court of Colombia reviews two lawsuits seeking to protect the rights of unborn children and prohibit abortion by healthcare providers in the country.
The lawsuits were filed last year by doctor of constitutional law Natalia Bernal Cano. They seek to recognize the unborn as having human rights and to completely ban abortion on the grounds that it "does serious harm to the babies and the pregnant mothers" involved.
Columbia's Constitutional Court legalized abortion in 2006 in cases of rape, fetal deformities and when a doctor determines there is a risk to the life or health of the mother. In a 2018 ruling, the court affirmed its 2006 decision, declared abortion to be a "human right," and asked the government to issue further regulations defining the legal circumstances for abortions to be performed. The Ministry of Health is currently working on developing those regulations.
In an interview with ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language news partner, Bernal said she filed the lawsuits to "achieve equal rights for the unborn." The lawsuits are based on research that she has been conducting since 2014 into the risks posed by abortion to the life and health of women and children.
Bernal said her research shows a variety of health risks associated with abortion, including post-traumatic stress disorder, perforation of the uterus, infections, heavy hemorrhaging and death of the mother.
Babies who survive an attempted abortion may have serious disabilities including cerebral palsy, she said, and women who undergo the procedure may have subsequent premature deliveries and miscarriages.