Mexico: Supreme Court Decides Against Legalizing Abortion

Editor’s note. This appeared at the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues.

Justice Arturo Zaldíva of Mexico's Supreme Court of Justice

Justice Arturo Zaldíva of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice

The Supreme Court of Justice in Mexico decided 3 to 1 to reject a proposal to overturn federal law and declare that the criminalization of abortion is unconstitutional and that women have the right to make their own decisions on abortion.

Currently abortion is illegal on the federal level with a rape exception.

Three justices rejected the attempt by Justice Arturo Zaldívar to change the federal criminal code. He argued that the restriction of abortion ‘violates women’s rights to personal development, sexual and reproductive health, and freedom from discrimination’.

The ruling centered on the case of Margarita Pino Salazar who was denied an abortion at a federal hospital and instead had it performed in a private health facility. Zaldívar attempted to have declared as unconstitutional two provisions of the Federal Penal Code that deal with the criminalization of abortion. He cited the case of Salazar but the fact that the articles did not apply to her helped to weaken the case.

It was the first time that the Court has considered the penalization of abortion on the federal level. Pro-life advocates celebrated the decision.

An official tweet from the Court suggests that there will be future considerations on abortion: “La @SCJN decidió no pronunciarse, por el momento, sobre la interrupción del embarazo en hospitales federales.”

Translation: The @SCJN declined to rule, for the moment, on the termination of pregnancy in federal hospitals.