Abortion is no longer a crime in Mexico. But most women still can't get one.

MEXICO CITY – When Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling on Tuesday declaring abortion not a crime, activists across the count...


MEXICO CITY – When Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling on Tuesday declaring abortion not a crime, activists across the country celebrated. On Wednesday, they got back to work, embarking on the long and arduous process to ensure that the legal change applies across Mexico.

One of their priorities is to help the women who need it most: those facing criminal penalties, often after having been reported to the authorities for having themselves attempted to induce an abortion under unsafe conditions.

“We have seen terrible cases where they do it with hangers, where they hit their stomachs,” said Arely Torres Miranda, a reproductive rights defender in the state of San Luis Potosí. “They are putting their lives in danger. “

In the first seven months of this year, 432 investigations were opened across Mexico into cases of illegal abortion, according to the Mexican government.

The court ruling immediately applies only to Coahuila state in the north of the country, where judges have said a law imposing up to three years in prison for people who have abortions is unconstitutional . Their decision set a legal precedent for the nation – but putting it into practice requires either legal challenges in each of Mexico’s 28 states that still criminalize the process, or a change in the law by state legislatures.

Local activists have already started working on a plan to force states to comply with the court’s ruling and revise their laws, though the fight to make abortion legal and safe across the country can be long. . Only Mexico City and three other states allowed abortions on request ahead of Tuesday’s decision.

“We are already organized and ready to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the new court ruling,” said Torres Miranda. “What we need to do is make them change the law.”

This plan is likely to meet resistance. The Mexican conservative PAN, the main opposition party, opposed any effort to legalize the procedure and expressed dismay at the court’s ruling.

Typically, the most marginalized women – who are poor and live in rural areas – are those who face criminal penalties for having an abortion, Torres Miranda said.

Since Mexico City legalized the procedure in 2007, a network of activists based there have worked together to offer women seeking abortions a safe path, either by transporting them to the capital or providing them with Misoprostol. , a drug commonly used to induce abortion.

But many women are too afraid to approach these groups and choose to have clandestine abortions.

When these methods do not work properly or cause excessive bleeding, women often go to the hospital, which can report them to state authorities. Five women are currently under investigation for having had an abortion in San Luis Potosí, Torres Miranda said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Abortion is no longer a crime in Mexico. But most women still can't get one.
Abortion is no longer a crime in Mexico. But most women still can't get one.
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