US state legislators praise access to abortion in Mexico

MEXICO CITY — A group of U.S. state lawmakers from Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and North Carolina toured Mexico and said this week they were impressed by efforts to expand abortion access south of the border.

Lawmakers visited the country’s three largest cities, Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, to meet with activists and Mexican lawmakers.

They commended the efforts of Mexican activists to guarantee access to women who want an abortion, including those from US states like Texas.

“It’s incredibly touching to see people opening their homes, opening their hearts, putting time and effort into making care accessible to American women, especially women from Texas,” said Texas State Assemblyman Erin Zwiener

There is anecdotal evidence of Texas women entering Mexico to obtain abortion pills, and some Mexican activists want to help them.

Under a 2021 law in Texas, abortions are banned as soon as medical professionals can detect heart activity, usually around six weeks and before some women know they’re pregnant. Enforcement is left to individuals authorized to bring civil suits against abortion providers and others who assist a woman in Texas to have an abortion.

Zwiener said about 45% of Texas women who received an out-of-state abortion between September and December went to neighboring Oklahoma.

But last week, Oklahoma lawmakers passed legislation banning abortion at conception, the strictest in the nation.

Zwiener said she expects this could send women from Texas to New Mexico or Louisiana.

Rebeca Ramos, director of Mexican human rights group Gire, said: “One of the priorities in both countries is to guarantee safe access to abortion in places with legal restrictions for those who need it.”

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled last year that criminalizing abortion was unconstitutional. As Mexico’s highest court, its ruling prohibits any jurisdiction from charging a woman with a felony of abortion.

However, laws banning abortion are still on the books in most of Mexico’s 32 states, and nongovernmental organizations that have long pushed for decriminalization are urging state legislatures to reform them. Abortion was already possible in Mexico City and some states without any problems.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. US state legislators praise access to abortion in Mexico

Laura Coffey

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