Mexican Supreme Courtroom Decriminalizes Abortion Nationwide, Requires Federal Well being Companies to Provide Abortion

The elevated entry to abortion in Mexico stands in stark distinction to reducing entry within the U.S.—the place 14 states now ban abortion solely, and one other eight ban abortion early in being pregnant.

The International Day of Motion for entry to protected and authorized abortion on Sept. 28, 2022, in Mexico Metropolis, Mexico. (Carlos Tischler / Eyepix Group / Future Publishing through Getty Pictures)

The Mexican Supreme Courtroom ruled on Wednesday, Sept. 6, that nationwide legal guidelines prohibiting abortion are unconstitutional and violate ladies’s rights. The sweeping resolution solely eliminated abortion from the federal penal code. The ruling additionally required the federal public well being service and all federal well being establishments to supply abortion to anybody who requests it.

In an announcement, Mexico’s Supreme Courtroom stated the “criminalization of abortion constitutes an act of gender-based violence and discrimination, because it perpetuates the stereotype that girls and other people with the capability to get pregnant can solely freely train their sexuality to procreate and reinforces the gender position that imposes motherhood as a obligatory future.”

The choice ensures that no individual may be criminally prosecuted for abortion in Mexico and that folks can search and supply abortion care at federal well being clinics in any Mexican state.

“This resolution is a historic milestone representing a turning level within the protection of reproductive justice,” stated Rebecca Ramos, director of the reproductive rights group GIRE, which filed the lawsuit resulting in the Courtroom’s resolution.

Describing the choice a “huge step” towards gender equality, Mexico’s Nationwide Institute for Ladies declared on Wednesday, “Right this moment is a day of victory and justice for Mexican ladies!”

Abortion entry in Mexico has elevated lately. In 2007, Mexico Metropolis decriminalized abortion, but it surely wasn’t till 12 years later in 2019 {that a} second state—Oaxaca—decriminalized abortion.

Within the final three years, 10 extra states decriminalized abortion, together with Aguascalientes state simply final month, however 20 states nonetheless have prison abortion legal guidelines on the books. The Supreme Courtroom urged all judges on the federal and native ranges to comply with its precedent and strike down these legal guidelines.

The choice implies that greater than 70 % of girls and other people with the capability to get pregnant can now entry a authorized abortion in Mexico.

Rebecca Ramos

“There’s work to be finished,” stated Ramos. “We’re hopeful that states which have but to replace their native legal guidelines will comply with the lead of our nation’s highest court docket and act instantly to ensure bodily autonomy.”

In states the place abortion continues to be criminalized, ladies with formal employment who’re a part of the social safety system and authorities workers could search the process in federal establishments.

“The choice implies that greater than 70 % of girls and other people with the capability to get pregnant can now entry a authorized abortion in Mexico,” stated Ramos.

The Mexican Supreme Courtroom had beforehand issued a number of choices growing entry to abortion. On Sept. 7, 2021, the Courtroom ruled that the state of Coahuila’s prison abortion legal guidelines have been unconstitutional as a result of they violated ladies’s human dignity, autonomy, equality, reproductive well being and freedom.

Two days later, the Mexican Supreme Courtroom declared the state of Sinaloa’s fetal personhood legislation unconstitutional.

Then on Sept. 21, 2021, the Supreme Courtroom restricted the usage of conscientious objection by well being employees by requiring the federal government to make sure that there are non-objectors in all federal well being services or close by.

In Mexico, the place 3,830,000 million ladies a 12 months get pregnant, 2 million weren’t meant and half resulted in abortion. Federal decriminalization of abortion and federal well being companies providing the process will vastly improve entry to abortion for Mexican ladies.

“We have a good time the Courtroom’s resolution as a major victory for all ladies, women, and individuals who can grow to be pregnant in Mexico, and significantly for marginalized people who find themselves most impacted by the criminalization of abortion,” stated Giselle Carino, CEO of Fòs Feminista, a global feminist alliance.

The elevated entry to abortion in Mexico stands in stark distinction to reducing entry in the US, the place 14 states now ban abortion solely and one other eight states ban abortion early in being pregnant.

“Regardless of the horrific rollback of entry in the US, it’s clear that the world is opening entry to abortion, with Mexico now the newest instance,” stated Carino. “The Inexperienced Wave of feminists preventing in solidarity for abortion justice is stronger than ever.”

Often known as the “Green Wave” for its inexperienced bandanas, the motion for abortion rights throughout Latin America has had a number of big successes in that predominately Catholic area. In December 2020, they gained laws legalizing abortion in Argentina. 

In February 2022, the Supreme Courtroom of Colombia voted to decriminalize abortion as much as 24 weeks.

In April 2022, abortion rights have been included within the Chilean Structure.

Abortion entry has additionally lately expanded in Ecuador.

The Mexican Supreme Courtroom ruling builds on these successes and will affect different international locations in Latin America to guard ladies’s rights by decriminalizing abortion.

Advocates have promised to convey authorized challenges to the remaining state-level prison bans and are organizing to go laws in these states as nicely. In the meantime, Sen. Olga Sánchez Cordero, a former Supreme Courtroom justice, referred to as on Mexico’s Congress to pass legislation legalizing abortion nationwide.

Along with growing abortion entry for individuals in Mexico, decriminalization creates extra abortion entry for individuals residing in surrounding international locations the place abortion is banned, together with Guatemala and the US.

“Individuals will certainly journey to Mexico to get the care that they want,” said Anu Kumar, president and CEO of Ipas, a world reproductive justice group.

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