Mexico Supreme Court decriminalises abortion with historic ruling

In a statement, the Court said that the current abortion ban "violates the human rights of women and people with the capacity to gestate.”

The image shows a crowd holding up green bandanas. The popular movement help the Mexico Supreme Court to rule in favour of removing the ban on abortion.
Image: @walter.o.caballero via Instagram

The Supreme Court of Mexico has officially decriminalised abortion throughout the country, deeming the current ban to be unconstitutional.

In a statement about the ruling posted on social media yesterday, September 6, the court said “that the legal system that penalises abortion in the Federal Penal Code is unconstitutional (as) it violates the human rights of women and people with the capacity to gestate.”

The court’s ruling ordered that abortion be removed from the Mexican federal penal code and requires that the federal public health service and all federal health institutions offer abortion to anyone who requests it.

The decision comes two years after the High Court made a similar ruling on a separate case taken in the northern state of Coahuila, creating a precedent for other states to challenge the legislation.

Welcoming what was deemed a “big step”, Mexico’s National Insitute for Women released a statement on social media, saying, “Today is a day of victory and justice for Mexican women!” 

Meanwhile, a former Supreme Court justice, Sen. Olga Sánchez Cordero, also commended the ruling, saying it represented an advance toward “a more just society in which the rights of all are respected.” She also called on Mexico’s Congress to pass legislation to support the court’s decision.

To date, a further 11 Mexican states have faced successful challenges, with the central state of Aguascalientes becoming the latest state to drop criminal penalties last week.

Although 20 more states in Mexico still criminalize abortion, judges in those states will now have to abide by yesterday’s ruling, escalating the traditionally conservative country’s recent wave towards improving human rights.

In October last year, Tamaulipas became the last of all 32 Mexican states to establish marriage equality, and the Senate voted to introduce a nationwide ban on conversion therapy. Earlier this year, the country also began issuing non-binary birth certificates and passports.

Although other countries have not been as forthcoming in LGBTQ+ rights, the feminist movement in Latin America has gained significant wins through the Green Banana campaign, with Argentina legalising abortion in 2020 and Columbia following suit last year. 

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