What does the law say in Colombia?
In 2022, Colombia decriminalized abortion up to the 24th week of pregnancy (Ruling C-055). Therefore, people can request safe abortion services without meeting requirements or conditions. In this decision, the Colombian Constitutional Court recognized that criminalization of abortion violate the human rights of women, especially those who are vulnerable, like migrants. The particular mention of migrant population emphasises that it is not necessary to be a document resident of Colombia to access an abortion in the country .
A pregnant individual over 24 weeks of gestation who requires an abortion is only eligible for such a medical procedure if they fall under one of the three legal exceptions outlined in Ruling C-355/2006.
- Pregnancy poses a threat to the life or health of a woman
- As a result of sexual violence, unconsented insemination, or incest
- If the fetus has a malformation that makes it incompatible with life
Even though Colombia decriminalized abortion, abortion seekers face difficulties accessing abortion services. For instance, La Mesa Por La Vida y la Salud de Las Mujeres received many cases in the first 100 days of the Ruling C-055. A sizable number of the people they attended were Venezuelan women, most of whom do not have a regular migrant situation .
If people face difficulties accessing legal abortion services, they may contact La Mesa Por La Vida y la Salud de Las Mujeres. The organization provides free legal services to people who face obstacles in accessing abortion services but does not provide abortion services itself.
How many abortions are performed in Colombia?
Data and numbers of abortions in Colombia
The Guttmacher Institute estimated that 400,400 abortions are performed annually in Colombia . However, only 10% of pregnancies are safely terminated at healthcare institutions . This means most abortions in Colombia are carried out in clandestine conditions, leading to serious health complications, mental burdens, criminalization, and increased inequalities. Unfortunately, due to the stigma surrounding abortion, many abortion seekers are reluctant to seek medical help after having an abortion, which means that the actual number of unsafe abortions is likely even higher than the estimates suggest.
The Guttmacher Institute’s estimate of abortions is the most widely recognized figure in the country because of its reliability. However, the study generated controversy among academics in the country; according to Rubio and his team, the estimate created was unrealistic, and the number was much lower. The Guttmacher Institute responded to these criticisms by presenting the methodological development of their study and confirming that, according to scientifically based data approximately 400,400 abortions occur in Colombia annually.
Other organizations have collected the number of abortions performed at their facilities to determine the prevalence of abortion in the country.
What do people in Colombia believe?
Opinion on abortion in Colombia
The decriminalization of abortion in Colombia has been controversial for many years. In Colombia, abortion is currently decriminalized up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, and there is a substantial amount of public support for the decriminalization of abortion. However, some people believe that it should be permitted in some instances. There is also a significant amount of opposition to the decriminalization of abortion. A small section thinks it should never be allowed, regardless of the circumstance, and some people do not have clarity on this issue. There is no certainty that a consensus will soon be reached on abortion, as it is complex and divisive .
For more information about opinion of abortion in Colombia, there is a report available about abortion and stigma in Colombia.
Who are the people who have requested legal abortions?
Abortion seekers in Colombia
A study conducted by Profamilia provides demographic information on women who have requested legal abortions. Between August 2017 and 2018, they reviewed 15,016 abortion cases of women who have access to abortion using Mifepristone. Based on this information, abortion seekers were categorized according to their demographic characteristics .
*According to the study presented, the demographic information does not change when abortion seekers use a different abortion method
What abortion services are available in Colombia?
How does the context affect abortion in Colombia?
Context and abortion
Abortion and the armed conflict
Colombia has been in a state of armed conflict since 1960. During that time, there have been different social changes and human rights violations, especially against historically vulnerable populations, such as girls, women, and the queer community. As a result of the recently signed peace agreement with the FARC-EP, the Peace Commission has begun clarifying some of the conditions that people with childbearing capacity have experienced, including the following:
- Sexual Violence
- Forced abortions
- Forced contraception
It is impossible to quantify the number of people subjected to forced abortions, consented abortions, safe abortions, or unsafe abortions within the armed conflict. There is, however, evidence that abortion was regulated and mandated within the FARC-EP. Moreover, the reports present different abortion practices within the armed groups, portrayals of women being forced to abort using Misoprostol pills (Cytotec), reports of unsafe procedures, such as curettage and surgical procedures, and plant abortions .
Colombia has a low level of criminalization of non-consent abortions. Only 2.9% of abortion cases are filed with the Court in relation to this crime .
Venezuelans seeking abortions encounter more barriers to obtaining legal abortions. Not only do they face the stigma of abortion, but they also bear the stigma of migration. La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres accompanied 154 women who requested a legal abortion between 2018 and 2021.
At the time, abortion was legal in Colombia in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the pregnant woman’s life. However, even when abortion was legal, it was difficult to obtain due to the high cost and lack of available providers. Moreover, many women did not even know that abortion was legal under these circumstances .
Despite the possibility of telemedicine, this resource was only implemented by 3 Health promoting entities (out of 40) and was not widely used for abortion purposes. Moreover, the laboratory test and ultrasound exams required for the process were difficult to access, and abortion seekers frequently feared being infected .
How did the pandemic influence abortion in Colombia?
Impact of COVID-19
Despite the possibility of telemedicine, this resource was only implemented by 3 out of 40 Healthcare Promotion Entities (EPS) and was not widely used for abortion purposes. Moreover, the laboratory test and ultrasound exams required for the process were difficult to access, and abortion seekers frequently feared being infected .
It is evident in the registered cases of La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres that abortion seekers face barriers. Between March and December 2020, the organization dealt with 111 cases compared to 55 in 2018 and 76 in 2019. 
Abortion was legal in Colombia in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the pregnant woman’s life at the time. However, even when abortion was legal, it was difficult to obtain due to the high cost and lack of available providers. In addition, many women did not even know that abortion was legal under these circumstances .
What is the data gap in Colombia?
What we don’t know
Although the health system has some data, NGOs deliver more critical information. However, to draw a complete picture of the abortion situation in Colombia, studies would require answering the following questions.
*This page presents abortion data only for women and girls since the information available is usually not separated by gender. However, AbortionData.org acknowledges this limitation.
Where did we get the information?
 Ann M. Moore, Juliette Ortiz, Nakeisha Blades, Hannah Whitehead & Cristina Villarreal (2021) Women’s experiences using drugs to induce abortion acquired in the informal sector in Colombia: qualitative interviews with users in Bogotá and the Coffee Axis, Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, 29:1, 146-161, DOI: 10.1080/26410397.2021.1890868
 La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres (2021) Informe contextual sobre el aborto y la anticoncepción forzada a mujeres combatientes en el marco del conflicto armado. Bogotá, Colombia.
 Profamilia (2018) Mifepristona: desafíos y oportunidades un año después de la implementación en Colombia. Available at: https://clacaidigital.info/bitstream/handle/123456789/1388/Presentaci%C3%B3nmifepritsona.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
 Orientame (2022) Aborto con medicamentos en centro médico. Available at: https://orientame.org.co/abortar-en-centro-medico-con-medicamentos/
 La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres (2021) La Criminalización del aborto en Colombia. Bogotá, Colombia.
 La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres (2021) Barreras de acceso a la interrupción voluntaria del embarazo en el contexto de la pandemia por COVID-19. Bogotá, Colombia.
 Guttmacher Institute (2013) Datos sobre el embarazo no deseado y aborto inducido en Colombia. Available at: https://www.guttmacher.org/es/fact-sheet/unintended-pregnancy-and-induced-abortion-colombia
 La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres (2022). Balance de los 100 días del fallo histórico: ¿Cómo va la implementación de la Sentencia C-055 de 2022? Bogotá, Colombia.
 La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres (2022). Uno pasa por muchas cosas: Barreras de acceso a la IVE en mujeres refugiadas y migrantes venezolanas en Colombia.Bogotá, Colombia.
 Medecins Snas Frontierest (2019) Colombia: Unsafe abortion: women at risk. Available at: https://www.msf.org/unsafe-abortion-women-risk-colombia-msf-report
 Statista. Favorability toward legalization of abortion in Colombia in 2021. Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1292674/favorability-toward-legalization-abortion-colombia/
 Abortion in Colombia | All you need to know about abortions. (s. f.). https://safe2choose.org/abortion-information/countries/colombia