Mexico decriminalizes abortion in Coahuila six days after Texas passed SB8 Bill


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Despite Mexico’s Catholic roots, abortion has been decriminalized in the state of Coahuila, with talk that the rest of the country may follow suit.

Texas lawmakers made a controversial decision on Sept. 1 to criminalize abortion past six weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. This allows for abortion providers to now be sued if they perform an abortion past this time, with exceptions of medical emergencies. In interesting timing, Mexico ruled on Sept. 7 to decriminalize abortion in the state of Coahuila. This came after Argentina’s decision to legalize abortion in December 2020, and it’s surprising that Mexico followed suit because of how prevalent Catholicism is in their culture. 

Many women have faced legal repercussions for ending their pregnancies before the ruling was made. The previous law gave women who undewent abortions the potential for a fine in addition to three years in prison. Because of the new ruling, it is likely that those who currently face criminal charges for abortion could have their charges dropped. While these specific cases still need to be legally dealt with in their respective regions, it remains a possibility. This is seen as a positive outcome for a large part of the Mexican population, and I believe it will have an impact on other parts of the country and the world. 

This ruling is bound to affect the recent criminalization of abortion in Texas, and I believe Texans in need of an abortion (especially those close to the border) will make their way to Mexico to have the procedure. This doesn’t change Texans’ desire to continue to fight for women’s reproductive rights, but it feels like a step in the right direction for the pro abortion rights community. 

The reactions to the new ruling, however, are not all positive. Mexico is heavily divided on the issue. While reproductive rights groups are obviously thrilled with the ruling, the Catholic population of Mexico is not supportive of it. In a poll taken by the Spanish newspaper “El Financiero”, 53 percent  of Mexicans were not in support of a woman’s right to have an abortion and 45 percent were in support of it. Those numbers are very close, and I can understand both sides of the argument. I, personally, am quite surprised that abortion was decriminalized in Mexico because of the prevalent Catholicism. However, I do believe this will be a positive change for women in that area. 

While this is a big step for this part of Mexico, I don’t believe this will inspire other Mexican states to follow suit with similar rulings. Given the fact that abortion was criminalized for so long, Mexico’s Catholic roots and the large number of people who are still divided on the issue, I believe that the expectation for full decriminalization is a bit unrealistic. While Mexicans can strive for that as the end goals, the journey to achieve this outcome will be a long one.