Abortion access in Mexico is expanding as a growing advocacy movement gains traction. In 2007, Mexico City passed landmark legislation to make abortion legal during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Between 2019-2021, the states of Oaxaca, Hidalgo, and Veracruz made history by also legalizing abortion up to 12 weeks. Then on Sept. 7, 2021, Mexico’s Supreme Court declared that laws criminalizing abortion are unconstitutional. Specifically, the court declared Coahuila State’s penal code unconstitutional for penalizing people who choose to end a pregnancy. But the ruling signals that no person who has an abortion anywhere in Mexico should face prosecution—because it violates their constitutional rights to autonomy and reproductive freedom. Accordingly, every Mexican state where abortion remains criminalized should now modify their penal codes and legalize abortion to avoid standing in contradiction to the nation’s highest court.
Ipas has contributed to the movement for abortion rights in Mexico in many ways over the years, such as by educating court officials and government decisionmakers about reproductive rights, and by supporting campaigns for legal abortion in various states. Ipas will now work to ensure states change their laws to uphold reproductive rights—and to ensure health facilities have the training and support to offer high-quality abortion care.
Ipas has collaborated with Mexican state and federal Ministry of Health authorities, health-care professionals and civil society members since 1995 to improve reproductive health care throughout the country. Programs include work to strengthen health systems by training safe abortion providers and clinic staff, as well as by supporting health centers’ efforts to ensure high-quality abortion care. Ipas conducts community education to reduce abortion stigma and trains young advocates for sexual and reproductive rights. Ipas is one of the five Mexican organizations that comprise the National Alliance for the Right to Choose (Alianza Nacional por el Derecho a Decidir, or ANDAR), which works to promote women’s sexual and reproductive rights.
Mexico’s Supreme Court declares criminalizing abortion unconstitutional
In a historic ruling that stands to expand reproductive rights across Mexico, the nation’s supreme court declared on Sept. 7 that laws criminalizing abortion are unconstitutional. “This is a huge step forward for the recognition of reproductive rights in Mexico,” says María Antonieta Alcalde, director of Ipas Central America and Mexico. “The supreme court’s decision shows that Mexico must now move to decriminalize abortion. No woman should be punished for exercising her right to make this decision.” Photo by Keno_is for Shutterstock
Veracruz State makes abortion legal in first 12 weeks of pregnancy
“We applaud the government of Veracruz for recognizing women’s autonomy to make their own decisions about their reproductive lives. It remains unjust that in some parts of the country women can access their reproductive rights, including abortion, while in other places they must risk their lives and health with clandestine abortions or else face forced pregnancy.”
— María Antonieta Alcalde, director of Ipas Central America and Mexico
‘This is a fight without borders’
A U.S. state legislator working to protect abortion access is finding inspiration in Mexico’s abortion rights movement. Here’s our Q & A with Rep. Julie von Haefen of North Carolina
Ipas videos on abortion with pills attract almost a million views
Ipas Central America and Mexico (Ipas CAM) created two informational videos in Spanish on how women can safely self-manage an abortion using pills. The unexpected popularity of the videos shows just how badly this information is needed.
‘Everyone is welcome at my hospital’
Dr. Georgina Díaz Orozco is a doctor and Ipas-trained abortion provider in Guadalajara, Mexico—and one of the few providers in Jalisco state to offer abortion care after the first trimester. “It is very important that people have access to this care,” she says.