Friday, June 21, 2024

Aguascalientes Congress decriminalizes abortion within first 12 weeks

The state of Aguascalientes has legalized abortion within the first 12 weeks, in compliance with Mexico’s Supreme Court (SCJN) ruling to decriminalize abortion at the federal level.

The law will come into effect upon its publication in the official state gazette, announced deputy Jaime González de León from the National Action Party (PAN).

The legislation was passed in Aguascalientes state congress, during a secret ballot. (Gonzalo Kinich Fernández/X)

The legislative vote took place in a secret session on Thursday, so the margin in favor of the resolution is unclear.

“Ultimately, what we know is that once the votes were counted, we complied with the Nation’s Supreme Court of Justice to decriminalize abortion,” Gonzáles de León told reporters after the vote.

Unofficial sources reported that the session resulted in 20 votes in favor and seven against. Six of the votes in favor came from deputies from the PAN party and one from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

In August, the Mexican Supreme Court approved an injunction against the legislature of Aguascalientes, ordering it to decriminalize abortion in response to lawsuits filed by reproductive rights groups. In September, the court followed up by declaring that abortion could no longer be considered a crime at the federal level, a ruling that built upon a similar case involving the Coahuila state government in 2021.

While the Supreme Court determined first-trimester abortion was legal at a federal level, many states are yet to bring their laws into compliance. Coahuila and Aguascalientes amended their laws in response to direct orders from the Supreme Court, while Mexico City, Baja California Sur, Guerrero, Veracruz, Colima, Hidalgo, Sinaloa and Quintana Roo brought their laws into compliance voluntarily or legalized abortion before the Supreme Court ruling.

“This situation was something we had to address before Dec. 31 because if we didn’t, we would fall into contempt, and [the Supreme Court] could have even sent us to jail,” González de León said.

With this decision, Aguascalientes becomes the 12th state to decriminalize abortion in Mexico and its public health system must provide this service to anyone who requires it.

According to Supreme Court Justice Juan Luis González Alcántara, authorities in Aguascalientes opened 73 criminal abortion investigations between 2015 and June 2023.

With reports by Expansión and La Jornada Maya

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