Published October 23, 2009
BOGOTA, Colombia (CNS) — Catholic officials are protesting a mid-October court decision requiring all schools to teach students about abortion rights. “We Catholic educators are not going to teach this; we’re going to teach respect for life,” said Auxiliary Bishop Juan Cordoba Villota of Bucaramanga, secretary-general of the Colombian bishops’ conference. “We emphatically reject this pronouncement. We will not disobey any orders, but … they cannot obligate us to do this.” Colombian law allows abortion when a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and when the fetus has a severe genetic malformation. Two years ago, Catholic leaders protested the court decision that legalized abortion in those cases. A court official was quoted by El Tiempo newspaper as saying that schools were not required to promote abortion, but must enable students to avoid an unwanted pregnancy and make “informed decisions” if they found themselves in one of the situations in which abortion is permitted.