mexico abortion supreme court
Mexico has decriminalized abortions in a country where most of the population is catholic.

Mexico Decriminalizes Abortion, UN Urges Nations To Guarantee Safe Access

Following Mexico’s decision to decriminalize abortion, the United Nations’ human rights chief, is urging nations around the world to guarantee safe and legal access to abortion.

The move “represents a major victory for women in Mexico in their decades-long struggle for their bodily autonomy and their sexual and reproductive health and rights,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a statement issued Thursday.

On Wednesday, Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled “that the legal system that penalizes abortion in the Federal Penal Code is unconstitutional, as it violates the human rights of women and people with the capacity to bear children.”

The ruling allows people access to abortions in federal health institutions and warns that medical personnel cannot be prosecuted for providing the service.

In 2021, the same court ruled that criminalizing abortion was unconstitutional, paving the way for Wednesday’s ruling.

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The UN rights chief also called on Mexico to implement the ruling swiftly.

“I call on Mexico’s Congress to take immediate steps to enact the necessary legislation to expunge abortion from the Federal penal code, and for state legislatures where abortion remains criminalized to promptly follow suit,” he said.

The decriminalization is a landmark decision in Mexico, where more than 80 percent of the country’s 130 million residents are Catholic. The Church has previously objected to abortion reforms.

The ruling came in response to a petition by the feminist Information Group on Reproductive Choice (GIRE).

In Latin America, elective abortion is legal in Argentina, Colombia, Cuba and Uruguay.

In several nations it is allowed in certain circumstances, such as rape or health risks, while outright bans apply in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Last year, the United States Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision that had guaranteed the right to abortion nationwide.