Abortion Is No Longer a Crime in Mexico. But Most Women Still Can’t Get One.

MEXICO CITY — When the Supreme Court in Mexico issued a historic determination on Tuesday declaring that having an abortion was not a crime, activists throughout the nation celebrated. On Wednesday, they obtained again to work, taking up the lengthy and arduous technique of making certain that the authorized shift applies throughout Mexico.

Among their prime priorities are serving to the ladies who want it most: these going through prison penalties, usually after having been reported to the authorities for making an attempt to induce an abortion themselves underneath harmful circumstances.

“We have seen terrible cases where they do it with coat hangers, where they hit their bellies,” stated Arely Torres Miranda, a reproductive rights advocate in the state of San Luis Potosí. “They put their lives at risk.”

In the primary seven months of this yr, 432 investigations had been opened throughout Mexico into instances of unlawful abortion, in accordance with the Mexican authorities.

The court docket’s determination applies instantly solely to the northern state of Coahuila, the place the justices stated that a regulation mandating as much as three years in jail for individuals who get abortions was unconstitutional. Their ruling set a authorized precedent for the nation — however placing it into follow requires both authorized challenges in every of the 28 states in Mexico that also criminalize the process, or a change in regulation by state legislatures.

Local activists have already begun engaged on a plan to drive states to fall in line with the court docket’s ruling and revise their legal guidelines, although the combat to make abortion authorized and protected throughout the nation could possibly be a lengthy one. Only Mexico City, and three different states, allowed abortions on request earlier than Tuesday’s determination.

“We are already organized and ready to take advantage of the opportunity that the Court’s new decision offers,” stated Ms. Torres Miranda. “What we need to do is make them change the law.”

That plan is prone to meet resistance. Mexico’s conservative PAN celebration, the principle opposition celebration, has opposed any effort to legalize the process and expressed dismay over the court docket’s ruling.

Generally, the ladies who’re most marginalized — who’re poor and dwell in rural areas — are those who face prison penalties for having an abortion, Ms. Torres Miranda stated.

Since Mexico City legalized the process in 2007, a community of activists primarily based there has labored collectively to supply ladies in search of abortion a protected path, both by transporting them to the capital or offering them Misoprostol, a drug generally used to induce abortion.

But many ladies are too scared to succeed in out to these teams, and decide to acquire clandestine abortions.

When these strategies go mistaken or result in extreme bleeding, ladies usually go to the hospital, which may report them to state authorities. There are 5 ladies at the moment underneath investigation for receiving an abortion in San Luis Potosí, stated Ms. Torres Miranda.