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Mexico decriminalizes abortion in all states amidst global debate on women's reproductive rights

Mexico's Supreme Court recently voted to decriminalize abortion in all its states, granting women greater access to this important healthcare procedure.

Mexico decriminalizes abortion in all states amidst global debate on women's reproductive rights
Image Source: A woman holds up a sign that reads 'In Mexico, we women decide' during a demonstration in favor of decriminalization of abortion on International Safe Abortion Day on September 28, 2020, in Queretaro, Mexico—Getty Images | Cesar Gomez

Lately, the governments of various countries have been debating heavily on women's reproductive rights. Many women deem it unfair as they feel a decision is being made about their bodies with little to no input from them. While many countries seem to be coming on board with giving women the "choice" to do what they want, some are going backward. Recently, Mexico's judiciary took a revolutionary call to decriminalize abortion in all its states to provide them access to the procedure, as reported by Bored Bat. Even though the battle is not over yet, the news has been welcomed with open arms by pro-choice activists across the world.



 

Mexico's Supreme Court had many eyes directed towards it on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, when they were to pass a ruling on the federal criminal penalties for abortion in the country. There was a wave of celebration on social media when the court banned the criminal penalties for abortion, calling them unconstitutional as they violate the rights of women over their bodies and lives. This decision follows the trend noted in recent times, with many countries in Latin America rejecting their conservative stance regarding abortions. The honorable High Court directed that abortion must be struck down from the federal penal code.

Image Source: Protesters take part during a demonstration in favor of decriminalization of abortion on the International Safe Abortion Day on September 28, 2020 in Queretaro, Mexico—Getty Images | Cesar Gomez
Image Source: Protesters take part during a demonstration in favor of decriminalization of abortion on the International Safe Abortion Day on September 28, 2020 in Queretaro, Mexico—Getty Images | Cesar Gomez

After the decision, a statement came from the Information Group for Chosen Reproduction (also referred to by its Spanish initials GIRE), rejoicing the decision, "No woman or pregnant person, nor any health worker, will be able to be punished for abortion." Though with a significant victory, the struggle is not over, as Mexico, throughout its history, has identified as a conservative when it came to issues like this. Hence, even now, 20 states in the country consider abortion as a criminal offense. This decision forces the authorities to start working on removing all the legal ramifications.

Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by Karolina Grabowska
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Karolina Grabowska

Mexico's National Institute for Women was ecstatic with the decision and took to Twitter to write, "Today is a day of victory and justice for Mexican women!" They believe this decision is a huge leap in achieving gender equality in the country. The judgment received support from Sen. Olga Sánchez Cordero, a former Supreme Court justice who also went on Twitter to say that this call will help in formulating "a more just society in which the rights of all are respected." In the congratulatory message, she also went ahead and urged the Congress of the country to pass legislation to further strengthen the stance in the country.



 

The decision has also faced much opposition, by bodies like the Civil Association for the Rights of the Conceived. The director of this organization, Irma Barrientos, expressed disappointment with the judgment. He promised the citizens that he and his organization would continue to fight, which he knew would bear fruits, giving the example of the USA, "Let's remember what happened in the United States. After 40 years, the Supreme Court reversed its abortion decision, and we're not going to stop until Mexico guarantees the right to life from the moment of conception."



 

After this judgment, abortion rights activists are looking forward to seeking legalization of the process in all the states. Their aim is to educate women on how to exercise their rights and make them aware that federal agencies are now obligated to give them medical care regarding abortion. Previously, care providers outrightly rejected giving care, citing legal ramifications. The decision is seen to be a result of the "green wave" in which women for many years have been protesting for their right to abortion while wearing green bandanas in Latin America, as reported by Amnesty International.



 

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