This thesis is based on six months of fieldwork in Bogotá, Colombia in 2007. It explores the terms of discussions of the abortion debate in 2006/2007 that made possible a change in the law from a total ban on abortion to a restrictive one. There are two well-established movements, one against, and the other in favour of the decriminalisation of abortion. I describe the arguments of the activists of both positions and how they chose to go forward in their cause for or against abortion in Colombia. These ideas reflect understandings of motherhood, womanhood, family, and sexuality and I explore this as well. The movements have different roots. One of them wishes to preserve the idea of the traditional family and is highly influence by the Catholic Church, while the other wishes to promote the notions of sexual and reproductive rights as part of the work of the secular state that guarantees rights to its citizens despite the diversity of beliefs and traditions.
Key words: Abortion, Colombia, pro-choice, anti-choice, Catholic Church, sexual and reproductive rights, motherhood, womanhood, family, sexuality, beginnings of life, dignity of life, childhood.