Believe it or not, Mexico may open the gates to Texan women who seek safe abortions and dodge all the private citizens the state has just turned into abortion avenger.
In a breathtaking twist for women’s rights, Mexico’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in the heavily Catholic country on Tuesday.
The court ruling doesn’t automatically provide full legal protection across Mexico, but it does pave the way to legalize the process currently only allowed in four states – Mexico City, Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Hidalgo.
Abortion rights activists hailed the groundbreaking ruling as potentially transformative not just in Mexico but across Latin America, where abortion is still largely criminalized.
Arturo Zaldívar, the chief judge of the court, said: “Now begins a new path of freedom, clarity, dignity and respect for all pregnant women, but above all for women.”
Criminalization doesn’t stop abortion
There is still hard work ahead of us to legalize the trial in every Mexican state, but what the court did is in sharp contrast to what the pro-life movement is doing to ban abortion in the United States.
Let’s face the facts. No law, however strict, will prevent women from having an abortion. It just sends them underground or across the border.
According to the Wall Street Journal, criminalization hasn’t stopped millions of people from attempting an abortion each year across Latin America.
It certainly won’t stop Texan women either, especially if they could drive just a few miles south of the border to get a safe abortion without facing severe penalties.
Coincidentally, the Mexican court ruling applies directly to two states. One of them is Coahuila, which borders Texas.
Texas is known to have a new law that bans abortions after six weeks of gestation and turns private individuals into bounty hunters.
Under Texas law, individuals from anywhere can file a civil lawsuit against a person helping pregnant women for a $ 10,000 reward for every civil case won.
Could Mexico be the safest option for Texan women?
It might not be the first time the US-Mexico border has provided cover for abortion seekers, Lina-Maria Murillo writes in the Washington Post.
Murillo, a writer and assistant professor at the University of Iowa, points out how American women traveled to Mexico to end their pregnancies after crackdown on “abortion mills” after World War II.
The border region, she writes, covered all sorts of “illegal activities such as gambling, prostitution and alcohol consumption during prohibition”.
This included abortion.
“In the 1940s, abortion providers appeared along Mexico’s northern border in cities like Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana, primarily to help US citizens find abortion assistance,” Murillo writes. “They weren’t legal, but the police, judges and lawyers in Mexico took bribes and turned a blind eye to the burgeoning business.”
Things are different now – at least in Coahuila, where abortion is legal or will soon be and which could become a Mecca for Texan women.
Paula Avila-Guillen, executive director of the Women’s Equality Center, said in a statement reported by Newsweek that the Mexican Supreme Court ruling “raises the question: Could the safest route for Texan women soon be access to a safe, legal abortion?” to have? their way to Mexico? “
It definitely looks like it, and that’s the irony of it all.
How ironic that the pro-life folks – often the same ones who rage against frontier workers seeking a better and safer life in America – could now force Texan women to flock to Mexico to end their pregnancies.
Elvia Díaz is an editorial columnist for The Republic and azcentral. You can reach them at 602-444-8606 or elvia.[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter, @ elviadiaz1.