Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of decriminalizing abortion nationwide Wednesday, two years after ruling that abortion was not a crime in one northern state.
The Supreme Court said it had “ruled that the penalization of abortion under the Federal Criminal Code is unconstitutional, since it violates the human rights of women and people with the capacity to gestate.”
The earlier ruling had set off a grinding process of decriminalizing abortion state by state. Last week, the central state of Aguascalientes became the 12th state to decriminalize the procedure. Judges in states that still criminalize abortion will have to take account of the top court’s ruling.
The court’s sweeping decision Wednesday comes amid a trend in Latin America of loosening restrictions on abortion, even as access has been limited in parts of the U.S.
Mexico City was the first Mexican jurisdiction to decriminalize abortion 15 years ago.
The Information Group for Chosen Reproduction, known by its Spanish initials as GIRE, said the court decided that the portion of the federal penal code that criminalized abortion no longer has any effect.
“No woman or pregnant person, nor any health worker will be able to be punished for abortion,” the non-governmental organization said in a statement.
The impact also means that the federal public health service and any federal health institution must offer abortion to anyone who requests it, GIRE said. The court ordered that the crime of abortion be removed from the federal penal code.