Among other things, these officials had declared that - contrary to the technical information issued by the World Health Organization - emergency oral contraception was abortive, that educational campaigns on sexual and reproductive rights were mass abortion promotion campaigns, and that medical clinics - in contradiction to the explicit orders of the Constitutional Court - could collectively claim conscientious objection so as to not perform legal abortions in Colombia.
The Court declared, based on precedent established by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, that when it comes to the right to information regarding reproduction, the State is under an obligation of active transparency. That is to say, it must produce and provide the greatest amount of information necessary for the exercise of women's sexual and reproductive rights, given the constraints that women face to access this information in a manner in a complete, reliable, and timely way.
In its ruling the Court ordered these officials to publicly correct their statements and reminded them that in Colombia the right to information includes: i) the right to access information held by the State; (ii) the right to inform or communicate, broadcast, disseminate, and transmit information; (iii) the right to receive information that meets certain standards of quality: accuracy and impartiality, and that those who give the information clearly separate it from their opinions; and (iv) the right to request information.
The judicial decision can be downloaded in its original version in Spanish.
Judges who issued the decision
Humberto Sierra Porto María Victoria Calle Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva