Mexico City: Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to punish abortion, unanimously annulling several provisions of a law from Coahuila — a state on the Texas border — that had made abortion a criminal act.
As the historic precedent was announced, abortion rights activists celebrated on the steps of the courthouse in Coahuila state capital Saltillo.
Women wearing green bandanas to symbolise the pro-choice movement embraced and shouted, “abortion is no longer a crime!”
“We’re very happy that abortion has been decriminalised and now we want it to be legal,” said 26-year-old Karla Cihuatl, one of the demonstrators, who belongs to the feminist organisation Frente Feminista in Saltillo.
“This step has broken the stigma a little.”
The decision will immediately affect only the northern border state, but it compels judges in other jurisdictions to act the same way in similar cases, said court President Arturo Zaldívar.
“From now on, you will not be able to, without violating the court’s criteria and the constitution, charge any woman who aborts under the circumstances this court has ruled as valid.”
Those circumstances will be clarified when the decision is published, but everything points to abortions carried out within the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, the period allowed in the four states where abortion is already legal.
The decision comes one week after a Texas law took effect prohibiting abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity in the fetus. It allows any private citizen to sue Texas abortion providers who violate the law, as well as anyone who “aids or abets” a woman getting the procedure.