Mexican Supreme Court rules criminalization of abortion in Federal Penal Code unconstitutional

and | Catholic News Agency
Sep 07, 2023 2 Min Read
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In a brief post on X (formerly Twitter), the Mexican Supreme Court announced Wednesday that in response to a legal challenge it has ruled that the articles criminalizing abortion in the Federal Penal Code are unconstitutional.

The court’s First Chamber “ruled that the legal system that penalizes abortion in the Federal Criminal Code is unconstitutional, since it violates the human rights of women and persons with the capacity to gestate.”

The court itself cannot decriminalize abortion. The Federal Congress will have to comply and make the changes in the articles in question.

The draft ruling was prepared by Justice Ana Margarita Ríos Farjat and approved with her vote and that of the other four members of the First Chamber: Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo, Arturo Zaldívar Lelo de Larrea, Juan Luis González Alcantárá Carranca, and Alfredo Gutierrez Ortiz Mena.

The ruling responds to a legal challenge to the constitutionality of the law (amparo) filed by a civil association, unnamed in the text, against articles 330, 331, and 332 of the Federal Penal Code, which establish sanctions for women who abort, for health professionals who perform the procedure, and for those who pressure women to abort.

Reuters reported that the association is GIRE, an acronym in Spanish for Information Group on Reproductive Choice, which celebrated the decision.

The lawsuit also challenges articles 333 and 334, which establish the cases when the crime of abortion is not punishable such as carelessness on the part of the pregnant woman (unintentional miscarriage), rape, and danger to the life of the mother.

The ruling by the First Chamber of the Supreme Court “safeguards and protects” the association that filed the constitutional protection lawsuit.

“This First Chamber considers that the declaration of unconstitutionality translates into a tangible benefit for the plaintiff civil association, in terms of the correct development of its corporate purpose, since it will allow it to guarantee that the women and persons with the capacity to gestate that it accompanies have access to services of safe and quality abortion, and that neither they nor the personnel who seeks an interruption of the pregnancy are criminalized under any circumstances,” the ruling states.

Following the approval of the draft ruling, a substantially same final version will be issued in which the judges may express their individual opinions.

What does the Supreme Court ruling mean for abortion in Mexico?

In a statement to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Marcial Padilla, director of the pro-life platform ConParticipación, considers that the ruling of the First Chamber of the SCJN “does not directly alter the Federal Penal Code, since this would have to be done by senators and representatives.”

“As citizens we must ensure that this changes and that the only just and reasonable thing is to protect the mother and the child equally,” he said.

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