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Colombia: Outrage at Conservative Politician over Remarks about Rape and Abortion

On Tuesday October 11, Conservative politician Enrique Gómez Hurtado [es] surprised a lot of Colombians when he expressed his controversial stance on abortion during an interview on La W, an influential morning radio show broadcast nationally on W Radio. Gómez, 84, is the youngest son of former President Laureano Gómez (tenure 1950-1953) and brother of long-time presidential hopeful Álvaro Gómez Hurtado (murdered in 1995).

In the half-hour radio interview [es], Gómez expressed his support for a project to pass a legislative act [es] which seeks to reform Article 11 of the 1991 Constitution, related to the right to live, in order to outlaw abortion under any circumstance. In 2006, a Constitutional Court ruling (Spanish-language version) partially decriminalized abortion in three cases: rape or incest, threat to the mother's life, and malformations in the fetus.

The outrage began when Gómez, in order to explain his position, said [es] such things as “there's no way to know if a woman was raped,” “we can't really know when a [fetal] malformation starts,” or that such malformation could be “prevented” because in many cases it is hereditary. Twitter burst with outrage.

Paula Vejarano (@Asmodeo_) from Bogotá writes:

Increible que haya gente como Enrique Gomez Hurtado que duda de la violación como delito porque eso es una irresponsabilidad de las mujeres

[It's] incredible that there are people like Enrique Gómez Hurtado, who doubt that rape is a crime because it's women's irresponsibility

Donald Trumphetero (@DonPornocracia) tweets mockingly:

Enrique Gómez Hu[]rtado: -Señora, usted debió exigir a su violador el uso de un condón. Usted porqué no tenía puesta su T de cobre?

Enrique Gómez Hu[]rtado: -Ma'am, you should have demanded your rapist he use a condom. Why weren't you wearing your copper T?

While Angie Cruz (@AngieCruzP) argues that:

#debateaborto Si los hombres pudieran embarazarse, los conservadores serían los primeros en aprobar el aborto // Enrique Gómez Hurtado

#abortiondebate If men could get pregnant, Conservatives would be the first passing abortion // Enrique Gómez Hurtado

Twitter user Lanark (@donAlvar) jokes about the politician's chances of becoming a conservative presidential candidate:

Enrique Gómez Hurtado no cree en la existencia objetiva de la violación. Lo veo presidenciable. #juventudesconservadoras

Enrique Gómez Hurtado doesn't believe in the objective existence of rape. I see him as a presidential hopeful #conservativeyouths

Orlando (@DanielitoBang) connects Gómez's statements with a claim from October 2008 by former President Uribe to refer to the victims in the “false positives” scandal:

“Cualquier persona puede decir que fue violada” suena parecido a “seguramente no estaban recogiendo café”. Sigan votando así.

“Anyone can say they were raped” sounds a lot like “they surely weren't picking coffee.” Keep voting like that.

Lucas Peña (@lucaspe) reacts to Gómez's stance on malformations, paraphrasing one of his arguments:

“Yo me siento malformado porque soy feo y no me hubiera gustado ser abortado”, ridiculiza el argumento Enrique Gómez Hurtado.

“I feel malformed because I'm ugly and I wouldn't have liked being aborted”, Enrique Gómez Hurtado mocks his argument.

Some defended Gómez, like Carlos Florez (@CarlosFlorezS):

Apoyo a Enrique Gomez Hurtado, El Derecho a la vida esta por encima de cualquier otro derecho, por vanidad de una mujer no se puede asesinar

I support Enrique Gomez Hurtado, the Right to live is above any other right; a woman's vanity is no reason to murder

On October 11, the same day that Gómez spoke about abortion on the radio, Colombia's national football team played against Bolivia for the 2014 FIFA World Cup South American qualifiers. Diana Melo Espejo (@Dianadaista) writes:

Enrique Gómez Hurtado debe estar feliz porque hoy a las 3:00 p.m., cuando juegue Colombia, a todo el mundo se le va a olvidar su babosada.

Enrique Gómez Hurtado must be happy because today at 3:00 p.m., when Colombia plays, everyone will forget his nonsense.

Finally, user @2000dePan asks:

Quien va a organizar la marcha para hacer farandula en contra de Enrique Gomez Hurtado en la plaza de bolivar a la hora del almuerzo?

Who's gonna organize the march against Enrique Gómez Hurtado to show off at Plaza de Bolívar during lunchtime?

Hours after the interview, the Senate's First Commission (Constitutional Affairs) debated [es] the project. The debate was broadcast [es] on the Congress’ cable channel and the state-run Canal Institucional, and was widely followed on Twitter. We will publish a separate post on the reactions to that debate.

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