New Abortion Regulations Seek to Expand AccessBy Rodrigo Brugada | Fri, 07/02/2021 - 11:34
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Health released new guidelines to provide a framework for safe abortion procedures. This federal document aims to establish and clarify the rules for the implementation of health services so states can provide safe abortion services in accordance with their own regulations in an optimal manner and following stablished quality standards. Thus, the federal authority seeks to help the states guarantee the provision of abortion services through the legal means contemplated by each state.
This is the first time the country has a federal document that brings together all provisions of the Mexican legal system regarding aborting, while also incorporating scientific evidence and the guidelines of international organizations such as the WHO. This document sets a route at the federal level to standardize the provision of safe abortion services, which must be provided by trained personnel with correct and sufficient information and adequate technology and clinical supplies.
The update also establishes the essential criteria for care in SSA units. The document aims for pregnant people who require safe abortion services, including girls and adolescents, to have access to timely, decisive and comprehensive care based on scientific evidence, with a gender and human rights perspective. All services must be provided within the framework of the grounds allowed in each state.
The document also derives from the obligation of the states to comply with their responsibility to offer medical care and guarantee access to safe abortion procedures. Within the health services, it also reinforces the commitment and trust of personnel who previously acted in a fragmented manner because they did not always have operating guidelines. This fragmentation resulted in each site implementing services as indicated by local authorities, causing significant differences between one hospital and another, for example.
As reported by IPAS, the main aspects covered in the document are as follows:
The recognition of sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion, as essential services; in the case of abortion, care is a priority as the process is time-sensitive.
Conscientious objection of health professionals is a right that gives them the choice to refuse to participate in a procedure as long as it does not put the patient’s life at risk. When exercising this right, the patient must be referred to another professional who ensures the fulfillment of the procedure.
Self-management and telemedicine are an option to ensure continuity and safety of abortion care.
Mental health should be addressed and care should be provided to abortion seekers without stigma or discrimination, regardless of the reasons that lead to the termination of pregnancy.
There should be no time limit for accessing safe abortion procedures when the pregnancy results from rape. Care should be provided immediately, without conditioning it to compliance with prerequisites such as filing reports with the authorities.
Regarding this last point, the government of Mexico City established that the number of weeks of gestation must be eliminated to determine the voluntary termination of pregnancy. The governor of the city mentioned that this modification aims to generate norms to progressively protect the full effectiveness of the human rights of the victims of sexual violence and women in the capital.
Likewise, the document mentions eight possible legal causes of abortion in the country. Of these, legal recognition for causes of reproductive autonomy was only recognized in Mexico City and Oaxaca. This Wednesday, the state of Hidalgo joined the entities that recognize this right.