Mexicans offer solidarity to Americans in wake of abortion ruling

By Cristina Sanchez Reyes

Mexico City, Jun 29 (EFE).- Dozens of activists who gathered Wednesday in front of the United States embassy in the Mexican capital said that the country could become a safe haven for legal and safe abortion for Americans after the US Supreme Court repealed the constitutional right.

“I believe that it could become a way for them to guarantee their rights because, if (…) they don’t have the right there, they will have to look for other countries,” activist Verónica Muñoz told EFE.

On June 24, the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which since 1973 guaranteed the right to abortion in the country.

The decision, backed by the majority of the court’s conservative judges by five votes to four, paved the way for abortion to be considered illegal in states that so decide.

Marcela Villalobos, president of Amnesty International Mexico, said that the court’s decision is a setback for women’s rights and in general for all people who live in the US.

It is “a clear regression of women’s rights,” she said.

Isabel Mateos, a Mexican-American activist, said that the ruling is “ironic and at the same time very worrying.”

She recalled that Roe v. Wade is a precedent that has been used “in many legislatures and in many cases in courts around Latin America and the world.”

“Having a direct attack within an international precedent is very worrying,” she warned.

On the contrary, Mexico is now one of the most progressive countries at the judicial level on the issue of abortion in Latin America.

Until a couple of years ago, only the southern state of Oaxaca and Mexico City allowed the legal interruption of pregnancy, up until 12 weeks.

However, in September last year the Supreme Court of Justice established that criminalizing abortion was unconstitutional, a ruling on the state of Coahuila that set a precedent for its application in the other states across the country.

For many years, the US was the sanctuary for Mexicans with the means to travel there to have a legal and safe abortion.

Now the situation could reverse. Nine states in Mexico – including Veracruz, Hidalgo, Baja California, Colima, Sinaloa, Guerrero and Baja California Sur – allow abortion up to 12 weeks for any reason.

“Now the women who live [in the US] will have to travel to other states where they have access to legal abortion, and those who have the [means] could even cross into Mexico to access safe abortions,” said Cristina Santana, from the organization MX Marea Verde.

But Mateos said in reality that might not be so easy.

“Access is very difficult. Today we don’t have enough clinics, we don’t have enough money to even be meeting the demand for abortion in Mexico,” she said.

However, Mexican activists also open the door to helping those in the US.

“(We have seen) how the networks save the lives of women (…) how they can help women in the US, even with regard to medicines,” said Amnesty’s Villalobos.

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