Gómez Arambula, Carlos Humberto v. Instituto Nacional de Vigilancia deMedicamentos y Alimentos INVIMA

Case File No. 11001-03-24-000-2002-00251-01
Download Judgment: English Spanish
Country: Colombia
Region: Americas
Year: 2008
Court: Higher Court on Administrative Law, Chamber of Administrative Litigation
Health Topics: Health care and health services, Medicines, Sexual and reproductive health
Human Rights: Right to life
Tags: Abortion, Access to drugs, Access to health care, Access to medicines, Birth control, Contraception, Contraceptives, Family planning, Pregnancy, Termination of pregnancy

A Colombian citizen challenged before the Supreme Administrative Court the constitutionality of an administrative decision that allowed the Asociación Probienestar de la Familia Colombiana PROFAMILIA to import and distribute the emergency contraception pill Postinor 2. The petitioner argued that the drug suppressed life in its initial stages, acting as an abortive and therefore violating the right to life protected by the Colombian Constitution and violating Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as approved by Law 74 in 1968, Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights, or the Pact of San Jose, as approved by Law 16 in 1972, the Preamble to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as approved by Law 12 in 1991, Article 91 of the Civil Code, and Article 3 of Decree 2737 of 1989, and the Code regarding Children.

The Council affirmed the constitutionality of the registry that allows the distribution of Postinor 2 in Colombia. Supporting its decision on arguments of the World Health Organization, among others, the Court determined that the Emergency Contraception pill has no abortive consequences and its effects happened before the conception took place. Thus, no abortion was produced by the POSTINOR2 pill.

“Asílascosas, el abortotienecomocondiciónnecesaria la concepción o estado de embarazo de la mujer, y comoquiera el POSTINOR 2 no actúadespués de la concepción o embarazo, sino antes de queéste se presente, no esposibleque sea abortivo, e incluso, no estáprobadoqueactúesiquierasobre el embrión u óvulofecundado.” Page 20.

“This being the case, for an abortion to occur, it is a necessary condition that conception has taken place, or that the woman is pregnant, and given that POSTINOR 2 does not have any effect after conception or pregnancy, but acts prior to the occurrence of either condition, it is not possible that it be considered an abortion drug. It is not even proven that it has any effect whatsoever on the embryo or fertilized egg.”

“De lo contrario, esederecho a la vidahabríaqueconsiderarloamenazado o vulneradaaúnbajo la forma de los elementosqueconfluyen a la reproducciónhumana, como son los solos gametosmasculino y femenino, antes de suunión o fusión, yaque en símismos son portadores de vida, siendoqueparaesemomento el derecho no reconocesujeto de derechoalguno. Incluso, en caso de que el óvulollegue a serfecundado y no implantado, podríaconstituir un problema con interés en los planosreligiosos, éticos o morales, pero en esosámbitos el problemaescapa a la competencia de estajurisdicción al no teneraúnrelevancia en el derechosupranacionalni en el derechointernocolombiano. Pages 20-21.

“A contrary finding would suggest that the right to life would have to be considered to be threatened or violated even in respect of any risk to the elements that act together to create human reproduction, such as the masculine and feminine gametes, before their union or fusion, given that they are in and of themselves procreative elements, but at that point the law does not recognize any subject for the right to attach to. Indeed, in the case that the egg were to be fertilized and not implanted, this could constitute a problem for religious, ethical or moral interests, but in those areas the problem is beyond the reach of this jurisdiction, as there is no relevant law to address it, either at international law or within the Colombian domestic legal system.”

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