THE STATE COUNCIL (HIGHEST ADMINISTRATIVE COURT) SUSPENDED DECREE 4444 OF 2006, WHICH REGULATED THE PROVISION OF ABORTION SERVICES IN COLOMBIA. THE DECREE WAS ISSUED IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE DISPOSITIONS LAID DOWN BY THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT IN JUDGEMENT C-355/06, WHICH RECOGNIZED THE RIGHT OF WOMEN TO OBTAIN AN ABORTION IN THREE SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES.
Judges: Ms Maria Claudia Rojas Lasso, Mr. Marco Antonio Velilla Moreno, Mr. Rafael E. Ostau de Lafont Pianeta, Ms. Martha Sofia Sanz Tobon.
On October 15, 2009, the Colombian State Council temporarily suspended Decree 4444 (2006), which regulated the provision of abortion services and gave instructions to health care providers in Colombia. The provisional suspension is a measure, which leaves the Decree without effect until the case has been definitively decided.
The decision to provisionally suspend the Decree was made on the basis of a procedural issue; the Court was asked to examine whether Congress rather than the Ministry of Social Protection was the correct entity to decide to issue the Decree. In judgment C-355/06, the Constitutional Court made it clear that its decision had immediate effect and did not require any regulation. The decision of the Council has had a negative impact on the ability to guarantee the sexual and reproductive rights of Colombian women because it has generated confusion among health care providers and the society in general. This confusion could ultimately result in health services providers refusing to carry out abortions with the argument that there is no regulation.