Former high-ranking justice official denounces “political trickery” to legalize abortion in Colombia

In an article published in the Colombian daily El Tiempo, Rafael Nieto Loaiza, a former high-ranking official of the Justice Ministry in Colombia, denounced the political trickery of abortion supporters who are seeking to legalize the practice in the South American country.

In his article, Nieto wrote that “those who seek its legalization have been exposed,” and he called attention to statements made from New York by Colombian lawyer Monica Roa, the author of the request to legalize abortion that has been filed before the Constitutional Court, which reveal that there is an organized strategy to liberalize abortion on the basis of “exceptions” such as rape, fetal deformation or life of the mother.  According to Nieto, these statements “are chilling in their attempt to take advantage of the good will of Colombians.”  He pointed to Roa’s efforts to lead a publicity campaign to influence public opinion on the issue.

“Contrary to what abortion supporters imply in their public statements, the defense of life is not a matter of the Catholic hierarchy or of those who profess religious belief.  To try to discredit this defense by alleging that a group of bishops or a set of religious beliefs are behind it reveals an outdated and evil anticlericalism,” he noted.

Likewise, Nieto maintained that abortion supporters couldn’t rely “on international treaties signed and ratified by Colombia because not only do they not approve of abortion, in the American Convention on Human Rights, they explicitly protect the right to life ‘from the moment of conception’.”

Nieto explained that in ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), “President Uríbe found himself between two raging fires: on the one hand, there were the women’s organizations that rightly wished to strengthen the mechanisms that protect their rights, and on the other, there were those who feared that the ratification of the Protocol would lead to an erroneous interpretation that would legalize abortion.”

“The President wisely sought to address both concerns and decided that in the ratification of the Colombian Protocol, ‘it shall declare that nothing addressed herein is to be interpreted in the sense of obliging the Government of Colombia to decriminalize any of the acts that are classified as crimes by our legislation’.  The reference, of course, is to abortion, as the President himself said in a statement last Tuesday,” Nieto wrote.

That, Nieto maintained, “set off a firestorm. Those who sought legalization through the ratification (of the Protocol) and who said so often that the Protocol had nothing to do with abortion saw their trickery unmasked and neutralized, and now they are openly firing their whole arsenal against the Government with arguments, including anti-clerical ones, that cannot hold up under serious debate.”

Nieto defended President Uríbe’s right to “act according to his convictions, inasmuch as they are not incompatible with his constitutional and legal obligations.”

“In this case the President’s position is not the result of his faith, whatever that may be, but rather the response to a higher duty that should not be based on any creed: the protection of human life, in particular of those, like the unborn, who have no voice to defend themselves.  I cannot think of a nobler cause,” Nieto concluded.

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