In a landmark judgment that broadened abortion access across Latin America, Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday abolished all federal criminal sanctions for abortion, declaring that national laws outlawing the operation are unconstitutional and violate women’s rights. Mexico City was the Mexican jurisdiction to decriminalize abortion 15 years ago.
According to a report by AP(Associated Press) the high court ordered that abortion be removed from the federal penal code. The ruling will require the federal public health service and all federal health institutions to offer abortion to anyone who requests it. The Information Group for Chosen Reproduction known by its Spanish initials GIRE, said in a s statement, “No woman or pregnant person, nor any health worker, will be able to be punished for abortion.”
In 2021, the 11-justice Supreme Court of Mexico ruled that criminalizing abortion was unconstitutional, although the decision only extended to the northern state of Coahuila, where the case was originally brought. However, abortion is still prohibited in almost 20 Mexican states. The court’s ruling will be followed by judges in those states, but additional legal action will be needed to eliminate all penalties.
According to the report Isabel Fulda, deputy director of the Information Group on Reproductive Choice (GIRE), the advocacy group that brought the case said, “We wouldn’t have this ruling if we didn’t have the Coahuila one two years ago, but I would say that one today has more reach, definitely in terms to abortion.” The court declared the abortion provision of the federal penal code to be illegal and that it infringed the rights of persons who can have children in a statement published on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Abortion rights are the latest wave of reproductive rights advancements across Latin America in recent years. In contrast, the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated the right to legal abortion in 2022, and over half of the country’s 50 states have significantly curtailed access.
Differing viewpoints emerge as the abortion debate intensifies in a highly religious nation
People in the highly religious country condemned the decision, The Civil Association for the Rights of the Conceived’s director, Irma Barrientos, predicted that opponents would keep pushing back against easier access to abortion. The report cited, “We’re not going to stop,” Barrientos said. “Let’s remember what happened in the United States. After 40 years, the Supreme Court reversed its abortion decision, and we’re not going to stop until Mexico guarantees the right to life from the moment of conception.
Diaz de Leon, sub-director and legal expert for women’s rights group IPAS said removing the federal ban takes away another excuse used by care providers to deny abortions in states where the procedure is no longer a crime according to the report. She said, It also allows women with formal employment who are part of the social security system and government employees to seek the procedure in federal institutions in states where abortion is still criminalized.
Sara Lovera, the women’s rights activist told the AFP news agency, “Many women don’t know that they have this right because local governments have not carried out publicity campaigns about it.”
In recent years, governments in Latin America have taken steps to relax their limitations on abortion. This development is sometimes referred to as a “green wave” because of the green bandanas that women in the region wore while protesting for abortion rights. Some American women were already seeking help from Mexican abortion rights activists to obtain pills used to end pregnancies.
BBC report stated that Although Javier Milei, the front-runner in Argentina’s election for president in October, wants to outlaw the operation, elective abortion is legal in Colombia, Cuba, Uruguay, and Argentina. Some countries allow abortions in circumstances such as rape or health risks, while outright bans apply in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Mexico City was the first Mexican jurisdiction to decriminalise abortion 15 years ago. Some countries allow abortion in circumstances such as rape or health risks.