In a victory for women’s rights in Mexico on Thursday, the country’s Supreme Court upheld a Mexico City law permitting first trimester abortions in the city (Los Angeles Times). Outside the city, abortion remains illegal except in rare cases such as rape and incest. Abortion campaigners have declared this a landmark victory. Maria Consuelo Mejia, leader of a Catholic group that campaigns for abortion rights describes it as “historic, with a huge impact on women’s rights, not only in Mexico but throughout Latin America.” The court ruled 8-3 in favor of the law. In order to have it declared unconstitutional, the opponents needed at least 8 court justices to rule against it.
According to city officials, more than 12,600 women have had abortions since the law was approved in April, 2007. They cite a drop in the number of women who have died in abortions as a vindication of the new law. Abortion was previously widely available but illegal. Under the law, Mexico City provides free abortions to women up to the end of the twelfth week of pregnancy.
The New York Times says that in all of Latin America, Cuba is the only other place where unrestricted abortions are allowed in the first 12 weeks (article).