Early-Term Abortion Legalized in Mexico City

Good news for women in Mexico City: the Mexico City legislature has legalized abortion in the first three months of pregnancy, a big step forward for women’s health:

Feminists hailed the vote as a clear victory. For decades, poor women here have resorted to clandestine clinics, traditional midwives and herbal potions to end unwanted pregnancies. Scores die every year in botched abortions. “It’s a triumph for women’s rights,” said María Consuelo Mejía, the director of Catholics for the Right to Decide.

The usual grumbling from pro-lifers and religious groups ensued, and the law will likely be challenged. But in the meantime, the vote shows that the legislature of Mexico City is beginning to break free of the Church’s influence, and not just on reproductive issues:

The fight has driven a wedge into this deeply Catholic society and shed light on the waning influence of the church in the wake of sexual abuse scandals involving priests. In January, church leaders could not stop the city assembly from passing a law allowing civil unions among homosexuals.

Now with this vote, this capital city became the largest entity in Latin America, outside Cuba and Puerto Rico, to permit women to have abortions on demand in the first trimester. The vote, which legalized abortion within the federal district, means that the 10 million women in Mexico City and its suburbs will have easy access to an abortion. And anyone living in Mexico could travel here for an abortion.

Proponents of the law say they hope it will become a model for states in Mexico, most of which only allow abortion under conditions like rape or danger to the mother’s health.

Make no mistake: this will save lives as it allows women access to safe, legal abortion. Congratulations, Mexico City!

Thanks to Melissa M. in comments.

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8 comments for “Early-Term Abortion Legalized in Mexico City

  1. April 24, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    This means a lot to me, being a Mexican. (Yes, I am both mexican and Croatian. Oh and also a little bit lebanese….)

    This desicion really really means a lot to me. My father is from mexico city, he grew up there. I go there every christmas to visit my family. And every year I notice that the women are getting more and more oppressed.
    Two of my aunts are victims of abusive husbands, one of whom recently FORCED HER to get a nose job (you know, so that she would look more white. duh.)

    That is why this step is so symbolic for me. The fact that women are finally beginning to be recognized. Women will finally be getting a voice. It’s wonderful!

    Viva Mexico!


  2. Melissa M.
    April 24, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    I’m so glad that this passed in Mexico City.
    It will give a lot of women access to safe abortions. I wish PRD-controled Mexican states other than the federal district would pass similar measures. I hope that other countries in Latin America will follow the Mexico City example, although I don’t expect it to happen soon.

  3. Morgan
    April 25, 2007 at 2:09 am

    This makes me so happy. I love seeing progress. This just proves that conservatives or traditionalists (whatever you want to call lazy people that refuse to accept change) are fighting a losing battle. Eventualy humanity will win and they would be more useful to themselves if they would just learn to deal with it instead of digging in their heals. Sometimes this belief frustrates me, so much money and time is being wasted on fighting for what should be already accepted. But during the few times I see victory, I am happy with the world.

  4. April 25, 2007 at 10:19 am

    It always feel great to be a Mexican woman, but especially today. I sincerely hope the states start following suit–I’m originally from Zacatecas and would love to see some action there.

    It’s the first step down a long road, but Mexico City’s finally leading the way.

  5. April 25, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Mexico City taking a more progressive policy than the US or even most of its states! What is wrong with us?
    Are the Mexicans just trying to get even with us for NAFTA?

    Will the clinics require proof of residence in Mexico City? The way things are going, it could be a further dent in our lousy foriegn trade deficit if the women in need could just safely get transportation to Mexico.

    [btw, I enjoy your comment mark-up tools]

  6. The Brunette
    April 26, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Will the clinics require proof of residence in Mexico City?

    Yes. Obviously a concession to keep the number of abortions down (thus somewhat tempering extremists’ anger).

    I should be happy that there is progress, but it pisses me off that it’s only for those who live within city limits. (Imagine if abortions were only available in New York City, but I couldn’t have one because I live right across the river in New Jersey.)

  7. Melissa M.
    April 27, 2007 at 11:27 am

    I checked at La Jornada, an independent leftist Mexican newspaper, and it looks like women from outside the D.F. (federal district) will be allowed to get abortions in Mexico City in “urgent cases.” I’m not sure exactly what that means legally, but here is the link for those of you who speak Spanish:

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