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News Article

New Abortion Regulations Come into Effect

By Rodrigo Brugada | Fri, 07/09/2021 - 19:16

A week after the Health Commission of the Mexico City Congress abolished the time limit in terms of weeks of gestation for the voluntary interruption of pregnancy in cases of rape, the legislative changes came into effect. There will no longer be any limitation, such as a pregnancy of up to five months, for abortions in cases of rape; it may be performed after 20 weeks of gestation.

Before the changes, the clauses for the legal interruption of pregnancy allowed its performance up to the 12th week of gestation or up to the 20th week in the case of voluntary interruption for rape cases. However, Claudia Sheinbaum, Governor of Mexico City, pointed out that these concepts as contemplated in the penal code did not conform to the provisions of the Mexican Official Standard for family, sexual and violence against women (NOM-046-SSA2-2005), as well as the General Law on Attention to Victims, reported La Jornada.

During Wednesday's extraordinary session, Congresswoman Lourdes Paz Reyes, President of the Health Commission, highlighted that the reform on the voluntary interruption of pregnancy seeks to defend the human rights of victims of sexual violence. She added that the reform allows each specific case to be assessed by professionals following the protocols of the WHO.

In Chiapas, the SCJN declared unconstitutional the criminalization of abortion for women victims of rape after the first three months of pregnancy. This ruling came in the context of an appeal issued by the SCJN to a woman whose minor daughter with cerebral palsy was raped in 2018. At the time, the General Hospital of Tapachula denied her abortion services because she had already exceeded the time allowed by law, going to the hospital at 23 weeks of pregnancy.

The document issued by the SCJN stated that "the time limitation provided for implies a total disregard of human dignity and the free development of the personality of pregnant women, whose pregnancy is not the product of a free and consensual decision but the result of arbitrary and violent conduct that disregards their character as autonomous subjects." 

Minister Norma Lucía Piña Hernández emphasized that "the State cannot force a woman victim of rape to make personal sacrifices, such as the continuation of a pregnancy, and to sacrifice her own rights for the benefit of third parties or the general interest." 

As reported by Sin Embargo, the SCJN concluded that establishing a time limitation for not applying the sanction of the crime of abortion ignores the nature of sexual aggressions. It also ignores the mental health effects created in the victims of sexual crimes, who often, due to the traumatic nature of sexual violence and the social stigmatization, do not dare to mention it or report it to the authorities.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
La Jornada, Congreso CDMX, SCJN, Sin Embargo
Rodrigo Brugada Rodrigo Brugada Journalist & Industry Analyst