In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Mexico found that any federal regulations that criminalize abortion are unconstitutional Wednesday.The Court reviewed an injunction brought by GIRE, a reproductive rights NGO, that challenged the Federal Criminal Code where it addressed voluntary abortion. In their ruling, the court held that the criminalization of abortion constitutes violence and gender discrimination. Additionally, the court found that criminal penalties for medical professionals who provide abortions are discriminatory and leads to a lack of availability for the treatment. Finally, the court said that any laws that provide criminal immunity for abortions due to rape are unconstitutional because by providing exceptions to criminal punishment, they continue to purport the presumed criminality of the women receiving them.This is the most important development since a 2021 decision where the court ruled that an article of a state criminal code banning abortion was unconstitutional. Article 196 of the Coahuila Penal Code mandated one to three years of prison time for women voluntarily receiving abortions or for medical practitioners providing abortions with a woman’s consent. The law was an absolute abortion ban and made no exceptions for medical emergencies or early pregnancy procedures.After the Coahuila case, the Supreme Court directed judges in all Mexican jurisdictions to rule for the future that any ban that treats the woman or health provider like a criminal is unconstitutional. It was based on this precedent that GIRE took legal action. The decision obligates federal health institutions to offer abortion treatment for free, as part of their public healthcare system. Other states continue to limit abortions after 12 weeks of gestation. The director of GIRE, Isabel Fulda, said the win has been the greatest achievement in their fight so far. Fulda also said that about 70% of Mexico’s population receives healthcare from a federal institution, so the decision will have a huge impact on women all over the country.

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