While the U.S. Steps Back, Mexico Steps Forward: Landmark Abortion Decriminalization Victory!

In a massive stride forward for women’s rights, Mexico’s Supreme Court just said a big ‘YES’ to the decriminalization of abortion at a federal level. This move isn’t just symbolic; it mandates that abortion be eradicated from penal codes while simultaneously compelling federal public health institutions to provide abortion services.

If you’re wondering how significant this is: Let’s put it this way – “Today is a day of victory and justice for Mexican women!” exclaimed Mexico’s National Institute for Women.

Let’s rewind a bit. Two years ago, the same court declared abortion wasn’t a crime in Coahuila, a state adjacent to Texas. That verdict initiated a ripple effect, prompting various states to decriminalize abortion one by one. However, as of this Wednesday, the old playbook has been tossed out – now ALL Mexican states have to adhere to this fresh and progressive mandate.

Senator Olga Sánchez Cordero, a former Supreme Court justice, celebrated the ruling as a beacon leading to a “more just society, in which the rights of everyone are respected.”

Zoom out, and you’ll notice a broader trend. Over recent years, reproductive rights champions across Latin America have been pushing the boundaries, successfully expanding abortion rights in countries like Argentina (2020) and Colombia (2022). According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, there’s a global momentum towards relaxing abortion laws.

But (and it’s a big BUT) juxtapose this with the U.S., and the picture is starkly different. While Mexico progresses, the U.S. federal Supreme Court’s recent moves have severely curtailed abortion protections. This regressive maneuver makes the U.S. stand out like a sore thumb, being one of only four nations globally to retract abortion legality.

The fallout? Mexico has now emerged as a refuge for many U.S. residents, particularly from states like Texas, in their quest for abortion access. Verónica Cruz, a prominent abortion rights activist in Mexico, shared her astonishment at this reversal of roles, with Americans turning to Mexico for aid.

Rewinding to just before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to undermine nationwide abortion rights, many Americans were already navigating a labyrinth to get the care they needed. Texas’s notorious “bounty hunter” law (which practically outlaws abortions after a mere six weeks of pregnancy and encourages public litigation against violators) had people scrambling. This exodus escalated after the Mexico Supreme Court’s Coahuila decision. Sandra Cardona, a passionate activist, paints a vivid picture, “Before September we would receive 5-7 American women per month. After September, we received 7-10 per week.”

In a world that seems to be progressing in many ways, it’s baffling that women’s rights to their own bodies are still up for debate. But as we witness these conflicting currents in the Americas, one thing is clear: Change is afoot, and the youth and progressives are here for it!