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Photo: Carlos Tishler
Photo: Carlos Tishler

Abortion decriminalization rejected by Mexico’s Supreme Court

Veracruz could have joined Oaxaca and Mexico City as the third state in the country to have more progressive abortion policies.

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Mexico’s Supreme Court has rejected an injunction that could have decriminalized abortions in the Gulf State of Veracruz.

Abortion in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy is only legal in 2 of Mexico’s 32 states, Mexico City and Oaxaca, but federal law permits abortion without a time limit in situations where the woman was a sexual assault survivor.

The Supreme Court judges voted yesterday 4-1 against removing articles from the criminal code regarding abortion in the first 12 weeks of prenancy.

They said the Veracruz Legislature did not fail to act on the federal government’s instruction because there was already law on the subject. 

Pro-choice activist Pascale Brennan felt that most of the judges based their decision on technical issues and completely dodged the issue of abortion itself.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been accused of not taking action on women’s rights, especially reproductive care and gender-based violence. 

Following a historic protest in March, where thousands of women took part in a “Day Without Women” strike against rising femicides, Obrador said that the number of killings in Mexico have been “been manipulated a lot in the media.” 

Supreme Court Justice Juan Luis Gonzáles wrote in a briefing presented at yesterday’s hearing that “the total prohibition on interrupting a pregnancy, through criminal classification, is a barrier, which creates discrimination against women in relation to the right to health.”

National and international women’s collectives sent a letter with more than 5,000 signatures to the court, urging it to support the decriminalization of abortion in Veracruz, while many relgiious groups peitioned the court to support the opposite position. 

A growing feminist movement in Mexico has intensified calls for better reproductive rights, but many hopes were dashed with yesterday’s decision.

Las Brujas Del Mar, a Veracruz feminist collective, tweeted “they didn’t even need 20 minutes to shoot down a rare opportunity. The problem is that the substance was not discussed.” 

Pro-choice activist Maricruz Ocampo, who works with sexual assault survivors, told The Guardian, that “Women’s rights are not a priority for López Obrador’s government even if he says they are. His actions demonstrate they are not.”

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