Mexico’s Supreme Court Bans Abortion Nationwide: NPR
MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Supreme Court threw out all federal criminal penalties for abortion on Wednesday, ruling that national laws banning the procedure are unconstitutional and violate women’s rights in a sweeping decision that expanded the Latin American movement to expand abortion access.
The supreme court ordered that abortion be removed from the federal penal code, and a reproductive rights group said the decision would require the federal public health service and all federal health centers to offer abortions. offer to anyone who asks for it.
“No pregnant woman or person, or any health worker, can be punished for having an abortion,” said the Information Group for Selected Reproduction, known as the first Spanish initials GIRE, in imitation.
The celebration soon spilled over into social media.
“Today is a day of victory and justice for the women of Mexico! Mexico’s National Institute of Women wrote in a message on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. The government agency noted that it was a “big step” towards gender equality.
The court on X said that “the legal system that criminalized abortion” in Mexico’s federal law was unconstitutional because it “violates the human rights of women and people of gestational age.” “
The decision came two years after the court ruled that abortion was not a crime in one northern state. That ruling halted a slow state-by-state process of decriminalization.
Last week, the central state of Aguascalientes became the 12th state to drop criminal penalties. Judges in states that still criminalize abortion must heed the high court’s ruling.
Abortion rights activists must continue to seek legalization state by state, although Wednesday’s decision should make that easier. State legislatures can also act on their own to eliminate abortion penalties.
Wednesday’s decision builds on previous wins for abortion rights
Across Latin America, countries have made moves to ban abortion in recent years, a movement often referred to as the “green wave,” referring to the green bandanas worn by women. protesting for abortion rights in the region.
The changes in Latin America are very different from the increasing use of abortion in parts of the United States. Some American women were already seeking help from Mexican abortion rights activists to obtain pills used to end pregnancies.
Mexico City was the first Mexican jurisdiction to decriminalize abortion 15 years ago.
After decades of work by activists across the region, the movement picked up speed in Argentina, which legalized the procedure in 2020. In 2022, Colombia, an extremely conservative country, did the same .
Last year the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide. Since then, most states led by conservative lawmakers and governors have adopted bans or tighter restrictions.
The fact that the US government is politically divided makes a national or legal ban unlikely, at least in the short term.
Currently, abortion is prohibited during pregnancy – with very few exceptions – in 15 states. A ban in two other states prohibits abortion after heart activity is detected, generally around six weeks into pregnancy and often before women know they are pregnant. Judges have struck down bans in at least four additional states.
At the same time, states with liberal governments have taken steps to try to protect abortion access.