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Mexico: Top court debates anti-abortion laws

The debate over abortion in Mexico has heated up in recent years, especially since the legalization of first trimester abortions in Mexico City in 2007. Women’s rights groups and health advocates cite cases like that of a raped 10-year-old girl last year to press for expanding reproductive rights such as abortions. Conservative groups and the Catholic Church, meanwhile, have led a push to pass anti-abortion laws in individual states.

The diverging opinions on abortion are being heard today by the Mexican Supreme Court which will decided the constitutionality of “right-to-life” laws found in San Luis Potosí and Baja California. The court itself is also divided on the abortion issue; for example, judge Fernando Franco argued that such laws are not only against the constitution but also contrary to international conventions ratified by Mexico. In contrast, judge Sergio Aguirre Anguiano claimed that the laws are valid and that Mexico has not signed to any global conventions that legalize abortion.

While the top court held discussions today, dozens of protesters against abortion peacefully picketed outside of the high court’s building in Mexico City. Meanwhile, according to a reproductive rights group over 1100 women in eleven states over the past thirteen months have placed legal complaints against the anti-abortion laws.

Over half of Mexico’s states (eighteen of thirty-two) have laws that explicitly ban abortion though all of them could be overturned by a verdict from at least eight of the eleven high court judges. That verdict could come as soon as this week.

Image- Notimex via Terra Mexico (Mexican Supreme Court chambers).

Online Sources- Reuters, CNN, Vanguardia, Noticiero Televisa, CNN Mexico, Milenio