In Colombia, 30% of the aesthetic procedures performed correspond to surgeries performed on minors. This troubling percentage led to the enactment of Law 1799 of 2016, which introduced the prohibition of performing medical and surgical procedures on children and adolescents under the age of 18, even with the consent of the parents. Such legislation also banned advertising promotion aimed at minors of aesthetic medical and surgical procedures, as well as the use of minors in advertising campaigns of those practices.
While the act was received with joy by those with a zeal for regulation and control, a citizen filed a claim before the Constitutional Court alleging that it breached the fundamental fights to intimacy, free development of personality and work of minors.
In respect of the performance of medical and surgical procedures, the Corporation declared the limited constitutionality of the prohibition, in the understanding that the it does not apply to adolescents over 14 years of age who have the evolutionary capacity to participate with those who have parental authority, in the decision about the risks that are assumed with that type of procedures and in fulfillment of the informed and qualified consent. For the ruling, the Court considered that the law violated the right of children and adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18, to the free development of personality and intimacy.
As to the involvement of minors in advertising campaigns, the Court declared the ban as constitutional and stated that it does not violate the right to work, considering that the restriction is reasonable since it seeks the following two constitutionally imperious purposes: first, to discourage a practice that can put the health of minors under unnecessary risk and, second, to eliminate negative gender stereotypes about beauty. For such reason, advertising in Colombia aimed at adolescents and children to promote aesthetical medical and surgical procedures is prohibited, just like its participation on such.
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