Abortion in Mexico
Abortion is a controversial issue in Mexico, where it is offered on request to any woman up to twelve weeks into a pregnancy in Mexico City, but forbidden in 18 out of 31 Mexican state constitutions. As of 19 January 2011[update], 52,484 interruptions have been carried out in the capital city since its decriminalization (2007) and more than a dozen women haven been sentenced to up to 30 years in prison in conservative-leaning states such as Guanajuato.
Legality of abortion
In Mexico, abortion proceedings fall under local state legislation, as a landmark Supreme Court decision in 2008 found no legal impediment to it in the federal Constitution and stated that, "to affirm that there is an absolute constitutional protection of life in gestation would lead to the violation of the fundamental rights of women".
All states' penal codes permit abortions in cases of rape, and all but Guanajuato, Guerrero and Querétaro's permit it to save the mother's life; fourteen out of thirty-one expand these cases to include severe fetal deformities; and the state of Yucatán includes economic factors when the mother has previously borne three or more children. Nevertheless, according to Jo Tuckman of The Guardian, in practice almost no state provides access to abortions in the cases listed, but also they prosecute neither the doctors who offer safe illegal abortions nor the cheaper life-threatening backstreet practitioners.
There are, however, some exceptions. Since 2007 Mexico City —where approximately 7.87% of the national population lives— offers abortion on request to any woman up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy which, along with Cuba and Uruguay, is one of the most liberal legislations on this matter in Latin America. In contrast, recent political lobbying on behalf of the dominant Roman Catholic Church and pro-life organizations has resulted in the amendment of more than half of the state constitutions, which now define a fertilized human egg as a person with a right to legal protection. As of 15 October 2009[update], none of those states has removed its exceptions to abortion to reflect the changes in its constitution, but according to Human Rights Watch and a local NGO, over the past eight years the conservative-leaning state of Guanajuato "has denied every petition by a pregnant rape victim for abortion services" and about 130 of its residents have been sentenced for seeking or providing illegal abortion.
Demographics and public opinion
A 2008 study funded by the National Population Council (CONAPO), El Colegio de México and the Guttmacher Institute estimated 880,000 abortions carried out annually, with an average of 33 abortions a year for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. However, such studies are speculative —as abortion is highly restricted and reliable data is not readily available— with some estimates ranging as low as 297,000 abortions per year.
As of 19 January 2011[update], 52,484 interruptions have been carried in Mexico City since its decriminalization (2007), where some 85 percent of the gynecologists in the city’s public hospitals have declared themselves conscientious objectors. Among the petitioners, 78% were local residents, 21% were living out-of-state and 1% were foreigners from countries such as Germany, Argentina and Canada. As for their age, 0.6% were between 11 and 14, 47.6% were between 18 and 24, 22% between 25 and 29, 13% between 30 and 34 and 2.7% between 40 and 44 years old. More than half were single.
- In a May 2005 Consulta Mitofsky survey, when asked, "Would you agree or disagree with the legalization of abortion in Mexico?", 51% of polltakers said that they would disagree, 47.9% said that they would agree, and 1.1% said that they were unsure.
- A November 2005 IMO survey found that 73.4% of Mexicans think abortion should not be legalized while 11.2% think it should.
- A January 2007 Consulta Mitofsky poll examined attitudes toward birth control methods in Mexico, asking, "Currently, there are many methods meant to prevent or terminate a pregnancy. In general, do you agree with the following methods?" 32.1% of respondents stated that they agreed with abortion.
- A March 2007 Parametría survey compared the opinions of people living in Mexico City with those living throughout the rest of the country, asking, "Do you agree or disagree with allowing women to have an abortion without being penalized, if the procedure takes place within the first 14 weeks of a pregnancy?" In Mexico City, 44% said they "agree", 38% that they "disagree", 14% that "neither" agree nor disagree, and 3% that they are "not sure". Throughout the rest of Mexico, 58% of those surveyed said that they "disagree", 23% that they "agree", 15% that they "neither" agree nor disagree, and 4% that they are "not sure".
- Gómez, Natalia (6 February 2011). "Realizan abortos legales sin regulación". El Universal (in Spanish) (Mexico City). Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Malkin, Elisabeth (22 September 2010). "Many States in Mexico Crack Down on Abortion". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Miller Llana, Sara (2008-08-28). "Mexico's Supreme Court upholds abortion law". Christian Science Monitor (Mexico City). Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- "State Legislation" (in English). Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida, A.C. 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- Tuckman, Jo (2008-08-29). "Judges uphold abortion rights in Mexico City". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- "Population of Mexico City as a percentage of the national population of Mexico". Wolfram Alpha. 2007. Retrieved 2009-10-17.
- Ellingwood, Ken (2008-08-29). "Mexican Supreme Court upholds legalized abortion law". Los Angeles Times (Mexico City). Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- "Temen se extienda prohibición al aborto en el país". El Financiero en línea (in Spanish) (Mexico City). 2009-10-13. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- "Mexico: Stop Blocking Abortions for Rape Victims". New York: Human Rights Watch. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
- García, Carlos (2009-03-09). "Médicos de Guanajuato niegan abortos y denuncian a mujeres". La Jornada (in Spanish) (Guanajuato, Mexico). Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- Cevallos, Diego (2009-05-22). "Avalanche of Anti-Abortion Laws". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- Henshaw, Stanley (1999-01-01). "The Incidence of abortion Worldwide". International Family Planning Perspectives. Archived from the original on 11 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-15.
- Malkin, Elisabeth; Cattan, Nacha (24 August 2008). "Mexico City Struggles With Law on Abortion". The New York Times. p. A5. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- "Mexico Deeply Divided on Social Issues." (July 5, 2005). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
- "Mexicans Support Status Quo on Social Issues." (December 1, 2005). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved January 10, 2006.
- "Mexicans Support Birth Control, Not Abortion." (March 28, 2007). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved June 20, 2007.
- "Urban-Rural Abortion Divide Evident in Mexico." (April 15, 2007). Angus Reid Global Monitor. Retrieved June 20, 2007.