Two days after effectively decriminalizing abortion across Mexico, the Supreme Court (SCJN) ruled on Thursday that the protection of life from the time of conception is unconstitutional.
In response to a challenge to abortion restrictions in Sinaloa, the court ruled that state laws that protect life from conception are unconstitutional because state legislatures don’t have the authority to establish the time at which human life begins. The SCJN also determined that such laws violate women’s reproductive rights.
“It’s not the job of any state legislature or this plenary session [of the SCJN] to establish the origin of human life, especially in the absence of scientific consensus,” said Justice Alfredo Gutiérrez Ortiz Mena.
“It’s clear that the embryo and fetus must be recognized as constitutionally relevant beings and must be protected in accordance with that dignity and character. However, their protection can’t compete fully and unconditionally with that of born people,” he said.
The Supreme Court justices agreed that the sole purpose of laws in 21 states that protect life from the moment of conception is to inhibit abortion, even in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is endangered.
Two justices opined that state legislatures don’t have the authority to legislate on human rights issues.
The court’s ruling reinforces its view that abortion is not a crime. The SCJN ruled on Tuesday that the criminalization of abortion is unconstitutional, paving the wave for the legalization of early term abortions in the 28 states where the practice is illegal.
Outside cases of rape and those in which an expectant mother’s life is endangered, abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is currently only legal in Mexico City, Oaxaca, Hidalgo and Veracruz.
With reports from El Universal