MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Tuesday it was unconstitutional to make abortion a crime, setting a precedent for the legalization of abortion nationwide in a conservative Catholic country of about 120 million people.
The unanimous ruling by the country’s highest court follows a growing women’s movement in Mexico that has repeatedly taken to the streets in major cities across the country demanding greater rights and protection for women.
“Today is a historic day for the rights of all Mexican women,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Arturo Zaldivar said after announcing the decision. “It is a turning point in the history of the rights of all women, especially the most vulnerable.”
The decision makes Mexico the most populous Latin American country to allow abortion and comes at a time when Texas and other US states have imposed increasingly strict restrictions on the procedure.
The court said a law in the northern state of Coahuila that imposes up to three years in prison for women who choose abortion violates the Mexican constitution.
The decision can now be applied to the rest of the country and forms the basis for a nationwide legalization of abortion. Before the court ruled, the proceedings were legal only in three of Mexico’s 32 federal entities: Oaxaca, Hidalgo and Veracruz, and in Mexico City.