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Mexico’s Supreme Court votes to decriminalize abortion, despite country’s pro-life history

The Supreme Court in Mexico has voted to decriminalize abortion, despite the country’s pro-life history.

Abortion is already legal up to 12 weeks in Mexico City, as well as in the states of Oaxaca, Hidalgo and Veracruz, but has been banned elsewhere. Despite the SCJN ruling, legislation to fully legalize abortion was abandoned earlier this year, with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador refusing to allow the pro-abortion legislation receive a full vote in the legislature.

“When there are highly controversial confrontational issues, points of view, the best thing is to consult the citizens,” he said at the time, adding that he recommends Mexican lawmakers let “citizens be consulted on controversial issues, where there are substantive differences. Consultation and that the people decide, let the people decide.”

Pro-life groups had been demonstrating and praying outside of the Supreme Court, urging the justices to choose life, and not death. “We’re urging the Supreme Court justices to reject these (challenges to states’ efforts to limit abortions)… we trust that these justices are going to defend life,” Leticia Gonzalez-Luna, president of the pro-life group Voz Publica A.C., told La Prensa Latina.


The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) was asked to rule on a law in the state of Coahuila, which states that a woman can be sent to prison for three years if she undergoes an abortion. The SCJN ruled that this violated the constitution, and therefore, can be applied to the entire country if eight of the 11 justices vote to uphold the challenge.

According to Live Action, many expect the ruling to lead to outright legalization of abortion in the near future. In the meantime, women who have been jailed for abortions will be set free. “Today is a historic day for the rights of all Mexican women,” Chief Justice Arturo Zaldivar said in a statement after the ruling. 

Abortion advocates, who have frequently protested violently in Mexico, are celebrating

the ruling, and are continuing to urge lawmakers in Latin and South America to abandon their pro-life constituents. “This will not only have an impact in Mexico; it will set the agenda for the entire Latin American region,” Melissa Ayala, coordinator of litigation for the Mexican feminist organization GIRE told the Washington Post, adding that the ruling is “a historic moment for feminists and activists.”

ARTICLE: TAMMY FISHBACK

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES

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