Mexico’s Supreme Court legalises abortion nationally, removing criminal penalties.

Mexico’s Supreme Court legalises abortion nationally, removing criminal penalties.

Maxico’s Supreme Court has delivered a landmark decision by invalidating a federal law that criminalised abortion, reaffirming its earlier ruling that such penalties were unconstitutional. This pivotal judgement not only allows for the provision of abortion services within the federal healthcare system but also significantly broadens access to abortion across Mexico. It represents a significant victory for advocates of reproductive rights in a predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

The Supreme Court, composed of 11 justices, had initially declared criminal penalties for abortion unconstitutional in 2021, but that ruling was limited to the state of Coahuila, where the case originated. However, this recent ruling expands the scope of legal abortion throughout the entire country.

This development is part of a broader trend of progress in reproductive rights across Latin America. In contrast, the United States witnessed a significant setback in 2022 when the Supreme Court curtailed the national right to abortion, with nearly half of its states imposing severe restrictions on access.

Isabel Fulda, deputy director of the Information “Group on Reproductive Choice (GIRE),” the advocacy group behind the case, highlighted the broader impact of this recent ruling.

The Supreme Court sided with GIRE in challenging the federal penal code, effectively rendering the section of the national law that criminalised abortion null and void. The court’s statement, shared on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), clarified that the abortion section of the federal penal code was unconstitutional and violated the rights of those who can bear children.

This landmark ruling not only paves the way for the federal healthcare system to provide abortion services but also takes on added significance as Mexico considers centralising healthcare services. The decentralisation of abortion access is a critical step towards ensuring reproductive rights for all Mexican citizens.

While Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalised abortion in 2021, progress in aligning the penal codes of all 32 Mexican states with this ruling has been slow. Just last month, Aguascalientes became the 12th Mexican state to decriminalise abortion, following a similar challenge to the state’s penal code and with the support of the Supreme Court. This latest ruling underscores the ongoing transformation of reproductive rights in Mexico and the region.


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