Mexico’s Supreme Court rules criminalization of abortions is unconstitutional

The Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) of Mexico declared this Tuesday that the criminalization of abortion is unconstitutional for women who abort in the first trimester of pregnancy and recognized the right to choose in a historic ruling.

Unanimously, the ministers of the plenary session of the SCJN invalidated article 196 of the penal code of the northern state of Coahuila, which imposed from one to three years in prison “to the woman who voluntarily performs her abortion or to the person who performs the abortion with her consent.”.

“There is no place within the jurisprudential doctrine of this Constitutional Court a scenario in which women and people with childbearing capacity cannot consider the choice of continuing or interrupting their pregnancy,” argued Minister Luis María Aguilar.

Abortion, whose criminalization is done by state laws, is only decriminalized in four of the 32 states of the country: Mexico City, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, and Veracruz.

The decision that the SCJN took today only invalidates the law of the Coahuilense state; however, it sets a mandatory precedent for all the country’s courts to rule in favor of women who decide to interrupt pregnancy in the other states of Mexico.

“The guarantee that women or pregnant persons who so decide can interrupt their pregnancy in public health institutions in an accessible, free, confidential, safe, expeditious and non-discriminatory manner,” was stated in the final declaration.

This is not the first time that the highest Mexican court has resolved a controversy over abortion, since in 2008 the Superior Court decided to declare the decriminalization of abortion constitutional in Mexico City.

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