Conscientious Objection to Abortion and Accommodating Women's Reproductive Health Rights (Ngwena)
Conscientious Objection to Abortion and Accommodating Women's Reproductive Health Rights: Rejections on a Decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia from an African Regional Human Rights Perspective
Charles G Ngwena
If applied in isolation from the fundamental rights of women seeking abortion services, the right to conscientious objection can render any given rights to abortion illusory, including the rights to health, life, equality and dignity that are attendant to abortion. A transformative understanding of human rights requires that the right to conscientious objection to abortion be construed in a manner that is subject to the correlative duties which are imposed on the conscientious objector, as well as the state, in order to accommodate women’s reproductive health rights. In recent years, the Colombian Constitutional Court has been giving a judicial lead on the development of a right to conscientious objection that accommodates women’s fundamental rights. This article reflects on one of the court’s decisions and draws lessons for the African region.