Mexico’s Supreme Court rules women can receive abortion if mother’s health is at risk

Mexico only allows abortion when the mother’s life is in danger or she is a victim of rape.

Women who have health risks during pregnancy can apply for an abortion, even if their lives are not in danger, the Supreme Court of Mexico (SCJN) determined Wednesday.

The First Chamber of the Supreme Court granted the amparo to a woman who complained after the refusal of several authorities of a public health institution to make the interruption of her pregnancy for medical reasons.

“It was determined that the provisions of the General Health Law can provide for access to the service of interruption of pregnancy for medical reasons, so that by refusing, the conditions of the right to health were breached,” the Court said in a statement.

In addition, it established “that the authorities prevented the woman from making a decision about the health risks she faced and increased the possibility that her health would worsen”.

Minister Alfredo Gutiérrez Ortiz Mena proposed protecting Margarita “N”, who was not allowed to interrupt her pregnancy in 2013.

The woman had filed an amparo because the Institute of Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE) denied her the right to a legal abortion, even though her pregnancy was high risk.

According to the patient, her doctors informed her that her pregnancy was at high risk because months before she underwent gastric bypass surgery and was overweight, in addition to suffering from diabetes and hypertension.

So far, articles 333 and 334 of the Federal Penal Code tacitly prohibit the legal interruption of pregnancy for health reasons, and only allow it when the life of the woman is at risk or was the victim of rape.

The Information Group on Elected Reproduction (GIRE), celebrated in its Twitter account the unpublished decision and said that with this “it will be possible to advance in the exercise of reproductive rights”.

They said that health institutions should provide the service of termination of pregnancy that request it and whose health is at risk.

In Mexico, abortion is regulated at the state level and there are circumstances under which it is not punished or considered a crime.

In all states of the country, abortion is legal when the pregnancy is the product of rape and for 10 years in Mexico City abortion has been an elective service within the first 12-weeks of pregnancy.

In 24 states, abortion is allowed when it is a risk of death for the mother; in 16 when there are serious genetic alterations and in 15 the risk to health and artificial insemination without consent are the accepted causes.

Only two accept socio-economic reasons.

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