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Texas abortion advocates celebrate Mexico's decriminalization

Mexican women protest for the right to legal access to abortion in Mexico City on International Safe Abortion Day on September 28, 2022.
Stephania Corpi
Mexican women protest for the right to legal access to abortion in Mexico City on International Safe Abortion Day on September 28, 2022.

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The Mexican Supreme Court has decriminalized abortion, a contrast to the status of abortion rights on the other side of the Rio Grande — where the highest court in the U.S. has stripped constitutional protections on abortion.

Wednesday's ruling removed abortion from the Mexican federal penal code, and public health services must provide pregnancy interruption to anyone who requests it.

"This decision is a historical milestone representing a turning point in the defense of reproductive justice," said Rebecca Ramos, executive director of El Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida. "This would not have been possible without the incessant commitment of the feminist movement of which we are extremely proud to be a part of today."

Two years ago, the Supreme Court paved the road by declaring unconstitutional the criminalization of abortion in the northern states of Coahuila and Sinaloa.

What started 15 years ago, when Mexico City made abortion legal, has had the momentum to attract 11 other Mexican states.

Developments in Mexico also followed similar decisions throughout Latin America to push back abortion restrictions.

The country's Supreme Court ordered that abortion be removed from the federal penal code, ruling that national laws prohibiting the procedure are unconstitutional and violate women's rights.

On the U.S. side, abortion rights activists in Texas paid close attention to Wednesday's developments. Thousands of women have had to travel out of the Lone Star State for the procedure.

"This decision is the first of many steps in granting the people of Mexico full autonomy over their lives, bodies, and futures. Generations of radical Mexican and Latin American feminists have pushed their governments through direct action and defying unjust laws, generations of aiding and abetting abortions have led them to this moment," said Makayla Montoya Frazier, founder and executive director of the San Antonio-based Buckle Bunnies Fund. 

She added: "As more Texans are supported by Mexican abortion organizations, we celebrate this moment alongside our comrades and renew our commitment to international abortion solidarity."

For many Texans, Mexico is the closest place to travel. But anti-abortion activists, emboldened bySB8, are seeking to shut down local roads and airports with county ordinances — declaring it illegal to "aid and abet abortion traffickers."

Some people are having deeper conversations earlier on in dating — not just about contraception and potential pregnancy but about values. The result can be increased intimacy, but also exhaustion, particularly among women.

TPR's Josh Peck contributed to this report.

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Stephania Corpi is a Mexican journalist, documentary photographer and a co-host and co-producer of the Line in the Land and La Línea podcasts from Texas Public Radio.