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Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation votes to decriminalize abortion

Mexico City, Mexico — The decision of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) to decriminalize abortion in the country must be respected, said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

“We should not take sides because there are conflicting positions,” he said regarding the recent decision. “It is a decision of the Judicial Power, of the SCJN, which was almost unanimous and which must be respected,” he said during his Wednesday morning conference.

On Tuesday, the SCJN declared for the first time in its history, that the criminalization of voluntary abortion is unconstitutional as it violates the rights of women to decide.

By an unanimous ten votes (the Minister Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo was absent), the Plenary of the Court invalidated article 196 of the Penal Code of Coahuila which, like many others in the country, imposes a prison sentence of one to three years to women who voluntarily interrupt her pregnancy any time during the pregnancy.

The Tuesday resolution will allow Mexico to establish a jurisprudence by precedent, which will be issued soon by the SCJN and will oblige all criminal judges of the country to not prosecute women, accused by any Prosecutor’s Office, of the crime of voluntary abortion. In such a case, the Amparo trial will proceed.

The presiding minister, Arturo Zaldívar, described the decision as a historic day for Mexican women, especially for the most vulnerable. He made it clear that this unanimous criterion not only invalidates the norms that were the subject of discussion, but also establishes a mandatory criterion for all judges in the country.

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