Lee Heidhues 9.7.2021
The Mexican Supreme Court, which presides over the judiciary in this conservative Catholic nation, just struck a blow for the right of women to control their bodies.
The increasingly anti-woman and right-wing US Supreme Court, now stacked with six Republican Justices, will likely continue its attack on women.
This enlightened action by America’s neighbor, intentional or not, is a slap in the face to America and its legal system. The recent ruling of the US Supreme Court upholding Texas anti-abortion statute looks more oppressive by the day.
It’s a pathetic day for the US Supreme Court which put women back into a state of bondage. A state of affairs more suited to the middle ages or a story straight out of The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Guardian 9.7.2021
Mexico’s supreme court has struck down a state abortion law, ruling that criminal penalties for terminating pregnancies are unconstitutional, in a decision which advocates say provides a path to decriminalisation across the country.
In a unanimous 10-0 ruling, the top court ordered the northern state of Coahuila, whose border is with the American state of Texas, to remove sanctions for abortion from its criminal code – with several justices arguing the prohibitions on voluntarily interrupting a pregnancy violated women’s rights to control their own bodies.
“It is not about the right to abortion,” said justice Luis María Aguilar, who wrote the court’s opinion for overturning the Coahuila law. “It’s rather the right to decide of women and persons able to gestate to make decisions.”
The ruling contrasts sharply with recent actions in the United States to restrict abortion access – most notably across the border from Coahuila in Texas, where legislation – upheld by the US supreme court – bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy and allows citizens to pursue legal actions against women seeking a termination.
But the decision continues a trend in Latin America towards decriminalization as women waving green handkerchiefs have thronged the streets across the continent to demand action on abortion access and gender violence.
Mexico follows Argentina, where lawmakers voted in December to decriminalise abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Tuesday’s ruling continues a trend from Mexico’s supreme court to rule in favour of petitions brought by women seeking abortions for health reasons or due to sexual assault.
It also turns back a spate of state-level attempts over the past dozen years to restrict abortion through constitutional amendments.
“This is the first time the court is getting to the heart of the matter” on abortion restrictions, said Rebeca Ramos, director of GIRE, a reproductive rights organisation.
“In this specific case, it’s whether criminalisation, considering elective abortion at the early stages of pregnancy to be a crime, is constitutional,” she added. “What’s being resolved is that it’s not constitutional because it affects a series of human rights.”
So far, only four Mexican states have decriminalised abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy – with three state removing restrictions over the past two years.
Mexico’s Catholic church voiced dismay with the ruling, while others expressed anger over the justices’ decision to refer to “persons able to gestate” in their arguments.
Bishops have previously lobbied state governors to approve prohibitions on abortion, said Rodolfo Soriano-Núñez, a sociologist who studies the Mexican Catholic church, “and in exchange they stayed silent on issues such as corruption and violence”.