Mexican High Court Declares Articles That Criminalize Abortion in Chihuahua Unconstitutional

Pilar Rebollo, president of Steps for Life pointed out that the decriminalization of abortion doesn’t benefit women.

Pregnant woman holds her baby.
Pregnant woman holds her baby. (photo: Mel Elias / Unsplash)

Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) declared three articles that criminalize abortion in the penal code of Chihuahua state to be unconstitutional. In response to the decision, pro-life leaders criticized this “great blow” against the “fundamental and inalienable right to life.”

On Oct. 18, the SCJN declared invalid articles 143 and 145 of the penal code of the state of Chihuahua, which establish penalties for women who abort and for those who pressure women to abort. The ruling also declared article 146 to be invalid, which establishes the cases in which abortion while technically remaining a crime has no penalty.

According to the press release from the Supreme Court, the sentence was reviewed in response to a request for an injunction filed by a woman who argued that the legal system that criminalizes abortion is “contrary to the human rights of reproductive autonomy, free development of personality, equality, and nondiscrimination, health, legal security, as well as freedom of conscience.”

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Uriel Esqueda, a member of the Mexican platform Actívate (Get Active), pointed out that this ruling “is a great blow to the fundamental and inalienable right to life” and also a “violation of legislative autonomy and powers, forcing the Congress of Chihuahua to comply with a pro-abortion agenda.”

However, Esqueda noted that the definitive effects of the ruling cannot be determined until the final complete text of the SCJN ruling is published, which could happen in the coming weeks.

He also warned that “it is worrying that the latest decisions by the Supreme Court go against its own determinations, because the court had already established that there must be even a minimum parameter of protection for human beings.”

According to a statement signed by different pro-life organizations in Mexico as part of a demonstration held on Oct. 18 in front of the Supreme Court building, Pilar Rebollo, president of the Pasos por la Vida (Steps for Life) association, pointed out that the decriminalization of abortion doesn’t benefit women, “since this type of action stems from an agenda driven by third parties who pursue economic interests at the expense of women.”

“Abortion is based on an agenda where someone else is winning, and it’s not the woman,” she charged.

Juan Pablo Alarcón, a pro-life student leader, pointed out that “abortion has moved through the shadows; students realize this, how the interpretation of abortion began literally from juridical shadows.”