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Women march in favor of new abortion law. Women march in favor of new abortion law.

Oaxaca lawmakers prepare to vote to decriminalize abortion

Women who procure abortions face prison time under current Oaxaca law

The Oaxaca Congress will vote Wednesday on a bill to change the state’s constitution and remove criminal penalties for abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

A woman who procures an abortion can currently be imprisoned for between six months and two years, provided three circumstances are met: the woman does not have a “bad reputation,” that she has been able to hide her pregnancy and that the pregnancy was the fruit of an illegitimate relationship. If one of those circumstances does not apply, a woman can be jailed for between one and five years.

Providing an abortion with a woman’s consent is punishable with one to six years in prison. The only exceptions are in cases of rape, risk to the health or life of the mother and serious genetic disorders.

According to the organization Marie Stopes México, there are around 9,200 abortions in Oaxaca every year, of which only 2,300 are registered.

Between 2013 and 2016, at least 20 women are were sentenced to prison in Oaxaca for procuring abortions, according to the national statistics agency Inegi. Since 2016, Oaxaca prosecutors have opened 56 investigations for abortion.

According to Morena lawmaker Elisa Zepeda, decriminalizing abortion is not only an issue of public health but also of social justice, because it is mostly poor and indigenous women who do not have access to abortion services under good conditions.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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