Mexico’s Veracruz state assembly approves decriminalization of abortion

From now on, the termination of a pregnancy at any of its stages before the twelfth week will not be punishable by law. Abortion in Mexico is a controversial issue. Its legal status varies by state.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With 25 votes in favor and 13 against, the plenary of the state assembly of Veracruz approved the decriminalization of abortion, up to the twelfth week of pregnancy.

The majority of the ruling Morena party succeeded in reforming the Veracruz state penal code, removing the five grounds for which no punishment was imposed.

Congress of Mexican Veracruz state approves decriminalization of abortion
Congress of Mexican Veracruz state approves decriminalization of abortion. (Photo internet reproduction)

Before the reform, the Criminal Code sanctioned abortion with educational and health measures (without deprivation of liberty). Now, a woman who has an abortion for any reason before 12 weeks of pregnancy will not be sanctioned with educational and health measures.

The five grounds for abortion without sanctions – rape, pregnancy by artificial insemination, risk of death of the mother, improper or negligent, and deformity – were removed as unnecessary.

The reform, approved with the opposition of PAN, PRI, PRD, and some non-partisan deputies, also establishes that a woman who has an abortion after the twelfth week of pregnancy will be subject to 15 days to two months of treatment in freedom, consisting of the application of integral health measures, respecting her human rights.

The crime of forced abortion has been included, which is applied to anyone who terminates a woman’s pregnancy without her consent at any point in the pregnancy.

A person who induces a woman to have an abortion without her consent shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of three to ten years and by a fine of up to one hundred daily penalty units.

LEGAL STATUS VARIES BY STATE

Abortion in Mexico is a controversial issue. Its legal status varies by state. The procedure is available on request to any woman up to twelve weeks into pregnancy in Mexico City and the state of Oaxaca but is severely restricted in the other states.

As of April 2015, 138,792 abortions have been carried out in the capital city since its decriminalization in 2007.

The abortion laws and their enforcement vary by region, but in conservative parts of the country, women are routinely prosecuted and convicted for having abortions: More than 679 women have been convicted for abortion in conservative-leaning states, such as Guanajuato.

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