In re Access to Emergency Contraception in Colombia (amicus brief) (Colombian Council of State)


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On June 5, 2008, in a landmark decision, the Colombian Council of State ruled against anti-choice groups' efforts to ban emergency contraception. The court found that emergency contraception, commonly known as the "morning-after pill," is a contraceptive method and not an abortifacient, and therefore, access to emergency contraception is in accordance with the right to life as established in the Colombian Constitution.

Filing date: Amicus brief filed December 2004

Country/Region: , Colombia/LAC

Center Attorney(s): , Luisa Cabal and Lilian Sepúlveda

Partners: Profamilia

Summary: The Center and Colombian partner Profamilia submitted an amicus brief in 2004 in support of the government’s decision to approve the sale of EC. The Center’s brief opposed the "citizen’s petition" filed with the Council of State (highest administrative court) by anti-choice groups that is pushing the Court to declare that EC produces abortions and therefore is illegal under Colombian law. This is a tactic used by anti-choice groups in several other Latin American countries including Chile and Ecuador.

Using examples from diverse countries, our brief argued that granting the citizen's petition would be contrary to international human rights law and medical fact, and would violate the rights of Colombian women to autonomy in reproductive decision-making and the right to have access to a range of safe and effective contraceptive methods.