Colombian Senate sinks constitutional effort to protect unborn

Bogotá, Colombia, Oct 14, 2011 / 06:43 pm (CNA).- Despite millions of Colombians supporting the measure, a Senate committee in Colombia axed a proposal that aimed to protect unborn babies from abortion through a constitutional amendment.

The Colombian Senate’s First Committee voted 9-7 against the measure, with a decisive vote coming from Senator Karime Motta, who originally endorsed the legislation but later changed her mind.

Bishop Juan Vicente Cordoba, secretary general of the Colombian Bishops’ Conference, said that the Church would continue to fight for “respect for all human life from conception to natural death.”

“Abortion is a grave offense against the Creator, an attack against the most basic of all human rights,”  Bishop Cordoba said. “It is obvious that the will of people was not reflected in the final outcome of the debate.”

He encouraged Colombians “not to become dismayed in this struggle” and said that “more than ever, we must reaffirm our commitment to the defense of life and the authentic dignity of the Colombian woman.”

Hundreds of pro-life activists held protests outside the Congressional building as the Senate committee considered the measure, which received the support of some five million Colombians.

The leader of the Conservative Party, Jose Dario Salazar, said that he would continue to defend life despite the measure’s defeat and that the party would seek a referendum to allow the Colombian people to vote on the proposal.

In 2006, the Constitutional Court of Colombia legalized abortion in cases of rape, life of the mother or fetal deformation. The proposed amendment would have abolished these exceptions and granted protection to life at every stage.

Attorney General Alejandro Ordonez called the Senate vote was a “heavy blow.”

“If unborn human life is not respected, what can we expect from people in a society that is every more engulfed in an individualistic and hedonistic mentality?” he asked.

“The worst thing that can happen to the legal system is to confer on it the right to death under the pretext of protecting life.”