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Colombia pro-life initiative gets enough signatures for the ballot

by | Jul 31, 2023

By Bridget Sielicki

The leader of a ballot referendum initiative in Colombia has announced that her organization has collected enough signatures to send their initiative to the country’s congress for debate. The pro-life ballot initiative seeks to amend a constitutional article to specify that the right to life starts at the moment of conception.

Sara Castellanos heads the Referendum for Life initiative. The group’s goal is to amend Article 11 of the country’s Magna Carta, which currently states “the right to life is inviolable. There shall be no death penalty,” and add the words “from conception” into the clause.

Catholic News Agency reports that the group has more than 2 million signatures to present to the National Registrar’s Office; 1.95 million signatures were necessary to advance the referendum. If the registrar’s office validates the signatures, the initiative will then go to Congress where it will be debated. If Congress approves, it will then hold a referendum.

“What we want is that we do not fail to recognize that there is a life that must have a right to be born,” Castellanos said.

Columbia currently has some of the most permissive abortion laws in Latin America. In 2022, the country’s high court legalized abortion up to 24 weeks.

At that time, Castellanos promised that she would lead a ballot initiative in an attempt to undue the court’s tragic decision.

“I reject the decision of the @CConstitucional. You cannot speak of freedom without the right to live. Decriminalizing abortion up to week 24 is legalizing murder,” she tweeted upon learning of the court’s decision. “I will file a request for a referendum so that life is respected from conception.”

When the court made its ruling, Cardinal Luis José Rueda, Archbishop of Bogotá and president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops also indicated that the protection of life should be considered a constitutional right.

“The Colombian constitution says that life is the fundamental right of all citizens and the rest of the rights, which are defended in Colombia and throughout the world, start from there,” he said. “We are called to consistently  respect life from gestation to natural death and for us believers, life, apart from being a fundamental right, is a gift from God.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Pro-Lifers