|The Santa Ana Church in Teusaquillo and three adjoining clinics reputed for providing illicit abortions.|
|One of the reputed illicit abortion clinics is |
physically attached to the church.
I consider opposition to abortion to be a respectable and principled position, altho I fundamentally disagree with it. Abortion opponents, who believe that a fetus is a human live from the moment of conception have, reasonably, compared their position to the battle against slavery.
|A fourth clinic, circled in red here, is across |
the street from the church entrance.
That is particularly clear in Bogotá's Teusaquillo neighborhood, where the Santa Ana Church is surrounded by women's health clinics with a reputation for providing illicit abortions.
I've never understood how these clinics keep operating untroubled. Their activities are an open secret among young bogotanos, and Internet searches bring them up. Is it corruption? Official apathy? A deliberate policy of tolerance, like the nearby prostitution 'tolerance zone'?
Whatever the reason, it's certain that the Catholic Church must know about what's going on across the street from and right behind the Iglesia Santa Ana. So, why doesn't the church begin its anti-abortion campaign across the street from the Santa Ana Church? The fact that it turns a blind eye to these places reveals a fundamental hypocrisy.
Abortion opponents know perfectly well that prohibition always generates a black market, and that's almost impossible to stop. So, they're taking the self-righteous route - they want to be able to pat themselves on the back and receive plaudits from the Vatican by passing an abortion ban in Colombia. But they want to save themselves the difficult and unrewarding work of dealing with a real world, in which laws mean little
Incidentally, I'm not writing from hearsay.
A couple of years ago, when I was still a journalist, a friend and I entered several of these clinics and she told them she was seeking an abortion (she had in fact had an abortion in one of these places a few years before). All of them offered us an abortion, and the doctor in one assured us that 'Lots of women had one abortion after another, with no problems.' But, not long before that, a woman had died in one of the clinics from a botched abortion. While she hemorraghed, the clinic staff refused to call a hospital so as not to get themselves into trouble. Instead, they called her family to come get her. But by the time the relatives arrived, the woman had died.
That particular clinic was shut down, but reopened. I'm not sure whether they still perform abortions there.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours