The Mexican state of Hidalgo made history on June 30 when it became the third state in the country to legalize abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Hidalgo joins the states of Oaxaca and Mexico City in changing its laws to guarantee the reproductive rights of women.
“This is a triumph for the Green Wave and feminist movements but, above all, this is a triumph for the women of Hidalgo and surrounding areas, and for those of us who fought for equity, human rights, sexual and reproductive health and social justice,” says Maria Antonieta Alcalde Castro, director of Ipas Central America and Mexico.
Prior to this historic law change, abortion was only legal in very limited cases such as for rape, fetal anomaly, and if a woman’s health or life was in danger. Many women in Hidalgo resorted to illegal, clandestine abortions—often with unsafe methods that risked their health and lives. In the state of Mexico City, where abortion has been legal since 2007, health data shows almost 1,300 women from Hidalgo have travelled there to access a safe, legal abortion and avoid the risk of prosecution or imprisonment in their home state.
Next step: Make abortion accessible
With abortion now legal, the state of Hidalgo must take the necessary steps to make abortion services widely accessible, such as training health staff, providing high-quality clinical guidance, ensuring well-equipped facilities, and offering women accurate information on how to access care.
For 20 years, Ipas has worked in Hidalgo—and across Mexico—to train health workers in abortion care and to provide women and their communities with information about sexual and reproductive health, including abortion. Now Ipas will support the roll-out of abortion services at Hidalgo’s public health facilities with continued trainings and support for facilities. Advocacy work to legalize abortion in the rest of Mexico’s states will also continue.
“We’ll continue working until safe abortion is recognized and guaranteed as a right for all women,” Alcalde Castro says.