In a landmark ruling, Mexico’s Supreme Court declared anti-abortion laws unconstitutional. But it’ll take mass organizing and legislative victory to cement reproductive rights in the country.
BY KURT HACKBARTH
On September 7, the Mexican Supreme Court struck down a law from the State of Coahuila which penalized having or performing an abortion with one to three years of prison. In doing so, it took a historic step: in a unanimous ruling, it proceeded to declare the criminalization of abortion in general to be unconstitutional. “Never again must a woman or a person capable of gestating be criminally judged,” said Justice Luís María Aguilar, author of the ruling. “Today the threat of prison and the stigma that weighs on people who freely decide to interrupt their pregnancy are removed.”
In their concurring opinions, other members of the court were surprisingly frank about the grounds for their decision. “[T]he reasons that lead a woman to abort, the conditions of secrecy and insalubrity some are forced into, the consequences for their physical and mental health… produce unimaginable human suffering, especially for women who live in economic and social marginalization,” wrote the president of the court, Justice Arturo Zaldívar. “It is a crime that, in practice, punishes poverty.”
Another battle looms over whether public hospitals will be required to offer the procedure.
By Natalie Kitroeff and Oscar Lopez
Sept. 13, 2021
MEXICO CITY — As soon as the nurse found out that she had an abortion at home, Fernanda García knew she was in danger. The nurse began yelling that she was a criminal, that what she had done was wrong, that she would be sent to jail.
“She told me that they were going to report me, that I was going to face charges,” said Ms. García, who went to the hospital last month after experiencing pain and bleeding. “I’ve never felt so scared in my life.”
BY PATRICK J. MCDONNELL, KATE LINTHICUM
SEP. 12, 2021
MEXICO CITY — A historic ruling by Mexico’s Supreme Court last week is the latest in a series of victories for abortion rights advocates in Latin America, a largely Roman Catholic region that has long had some of the world’s most restrictive laws against the procedure.
The vast majority of women in the region still lack access to legal abortions, but restrictions have now been lifted or relaxed over the last 15 years in at least half a dozen countries.
Recent shifts on access to abortion suggest democracy and women’s rights go hand in hand — and that the inverse might be true as well.
By Max Fisher
Published Sept. 9, 2021
The story of abortion rights in the 21st century can be seen in two world-shaking developments this past week. In the first, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively upheld drastic new abortion restrictions in Texas. A few days later, Mexico’s high court paved the way for nationwide legalization.
It may be tempting to see Mexico’s ruling as the more surprising, catapulting the world’s second most populous Catholic country on a deeply contentious social matter.
Justices decision to decriminalise abortion was based on human rights arguments and will mean fewer criminal investigations
David Agren in Mexico City
Thu 9 Sep 2021
Activists in Mexico have hailed a supreme court decision to decriminalise abortion, saying it would stop the legal prosecution of women who terminate their pregnancies – and those reported to the authorities after suffering miscarriages.
The decision, handed down unanimously on Tuesday, declared that criminal sanctions for abortion in the northern state of Coahuila were unconstitutional. The decision sets precedent, according to lawyers involved in abortion cases, and will be applicable across the country.
The Supreme Court’s decision set a legal precedent for the nation. But applying it to all of Mexico’s states will be a long path, and women are still facing prosecution.
By Natalie Kitroeff and Oscar Lopez
Sept. 8, 2021
MEXICO CITY — When the Supreme Court in Mexico issued a historic decision on Tuesday declaring that having an abortion was not a crime, activists across the country celebrated. On Wednesday, they got back to work, taking on the long and arduous process of ensuring that the legal shift applies across Mexico.
Among their top priorities are helping the women who need it most: those facing criminal penalties, often after having been reported to the authorities for trying to induce an abortion themselves under dangerous conditions.
Sep 08, 2021
MEXICO CITY — The Mexican Supreme Court’s unanimous decision on Tuesday to decriminalize abortion will principally help poorer women, who have in the past borne the brunt of punishments for the crime, the president of the tribunal said on Wednesday.
Speaking after the court ruled it was no longer possible to prosecute any woman who has an abortion without violating the constitution, Supreme Court president Arturo Zaldivar said denying women the right had been an enormous social injustice.
Decision annuls several provisions of law in Coahuila state, which borders Texas
The Associated Press
Posted: Sep 07, 2021
Mexico's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that it is unconstitutional to punish abortion, unanimously annulling several provisions of a law from Coahuila — a state on the Texas border — that had made abortion a criminal act.
The decision will immediately only affect the northern border state, but it establishes "obligatory criteria for all of the country's judges," compelling them to act the same way in similar cases, said court President Arturo Zaldivar.
By Mary Beth Sheridan and Alejandra Ibarra Chaoul
September 7, 2021
MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s supreme court voted unanimously on Tuesday to decriminalize abortion, a striking step in a country with one of the world’s largest Catholic populations and a move that contrasts sharply with tighter restrictions introduced across the border in Texas.
Eight of the 11 supreme court judges had expressed support for decriminalization in arguments that began Monday, making the decision virtually inevitable.
September 7, 2021
MEXICO CITY, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Mexico's Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday that penalizing abortion is unconstitutional, a major victory for advocates of women's health and human rights, just as parts of the United States enact tougher laws against the practice.
The court ruling in the majority Roman Catholic nation follows moves to decriminalize abortion at state level, although most of the country still has tough laws in place against women terminating their pregnancy early.