Anastasia Moloney, Thomson Reuters Foundation
Dec 13, 2021
BOGOTA – A record number of U.S. states have sought to restrict access to abortion this year, but countries including Argentina, Mexico and Thailand have moved in the opposite direction – easing their strict laws on the procedure.
In the United States, 106 abortion restrictions were enacted across 19 states in 2021, according to reproductive health research organization the Guttmacher Institute.
A landmark court ruling gave Mexicans greater rights to the procedure than Texans now have, but opponents have vowed to reverse the decision.
By Stephania Taladrid
October 28, 2021
On September 6th, Laura Hernández turned on her TV and began to record an event that she had waited for years to witness: the Mexican Supreme Court’s ruling on whether the criminalization of abortion was constitutional. A psychologist by training and a native of the northern state of Coahuila, Hernández is the co-founder of Acompañantes Laguna, a network of volunteers that has helped thousands of people obtain abortions over the years. Until recently, Coahuila, which borders Texas, had stringent prohibitions on abortion. Under a law passed in 2017, people could face between one and three years in prison for ending their pregnancy. The state, one of the country’s wealthiest, also has some of the highest teen-age-pregnancy rates in Mexico, which ranks first among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in that criterion. It was in Coahuila that the case considered by the Supreme Court originated four years ago.
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.”
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.
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.
Women demonstrate in favour of abortion as the Supreme Court in Mexico City debates a proposal to declare as unconstitutional two laws that either ban or limit abortion (AFP Photo/Hector Guerrero)
AFP • June 29, 2016
Mexico City (AFP) - Mexico's Supreme Court rejected a proposal to legalize abortion but suggested more debate on the issue in the country boasting the world's second-largest Catholic population.
Justices of the court's first chamber -- which deals with criminal issues -- voted three to one to reject an initiative to declare as unconstitutional two laws that ban abortion and drastically limit the procedure for medical reasons.
Although the capital Mexico City has allowed abortion within three months of conception since 2007, it is prohibited throughout the rest of the country except in cases in which pregnancies endanger mothers' lives.
The legalization initiative, presented by Supreme Court member Arturo Zaldivar, aimed to extend sanctioned abortions to women with other medical problems and declare prison sentences for illegal abortions unconstitutional.
Penalties range up to five years.
The penal code represents "real discrimination against women's health," Zaldivar said during arguments over the measure.
His initiative also proposed introducing graduated penalties for illegal abortions determined by the stage of pregnancy.
More than 2,000 women died from abortions conducted in unsanitary conditions between 1999 and 2013 due to the current ban, Zaldivar argued.
Some 200 anti-abortion activists and hundreds more reform supporters noisily demonstrated outside the building during the debate.
The Supreme Court rejected the measure but acknowledged the issue is an important one facing the country and suggested drafting a new proposal for debate in the coming months.