Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled this week that criminalizing abortion is illegal. This landmark unanimous decision comes after years of advocacy from women’s rights groups who have fought to legalize abortion in the largely Catholic country.
Although the decision does not automatically make abortion legal across the country, it does set a precedent for judges to overturn abortion bans and criminal charges for women who have abortions.
“Today is a historic day for the rights of all Mexican women,” said Chief Justice Arturo Zaldívar. “It is a watershed in the history of the rights of all women, especially the most vulnerable.”
The ruling considered law in the northern state of Coahuila, where women could previously face up to three years in prison for having an abortion. The court found this law unconstitutional and the penalization of abortion to be against Mexico’s Constitution.
Citizens, particularly women, have been protesting for months in Mexico for the decriminalization of abortion as well as government action on violence against women. On average, ten women are murdered in Mexico each day, an issue that has intensified into a national crisis. Activists are optimistic that this action on abortion will be followed by stronger protections for women experiencing gender-based violence.