Mexico City’s New Legal Abortion Law Opens Door for National Abortions

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 5, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mexico City’s New Legal Abortion Law Opens Door for National Abortions Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 5,

Mexico City, Mexico ( — Backers of the new law in Mexico City that legalized abortion up to 13 weeks into pregnancy in April said their measure would not open the door for abortions on women across Mexico. However a new Los Angeles Times report indicates that’s exactly what’s happening there.

The newspaper profiled Rocio Medeles, a Guadalajara resident who lives five hours from the capital city.

When the 26-year-old woman found herself pregnant, she decided to have an abortion and is taking advantage of Mexico City’s new abortion law.

According to the paper, Medeles hopped on a bus and became one of the 3,400 women who have had abortions at the massive city’s 14 public hospitals.

"If it hadn’t been for the option to go to the Federal District, I probably wouldn’t have risked a clandestine abortion," the woman told the newspaper. "I might have had the baby, although I probably would have given it up for adoption."

The Times interviewed Mexico City officials who acknowledged women are coming there from as far away as Baja, located more than 1,000 miles away.

Abortion, as it is in most of the nations in the Caribbean and Latin America, is illegal throughout the rest of Mexico and the its federal Congress doesn’t appear likely to legalize abortion nationwide.

Pro-life advocates are concerned that the longer the abortion law in their capital stays on the books, the more women from across Mexico will go there for abortions. They also worried attitudes in Mexico will become like those of Americans in the United States, who see legalized abortion as a part of society.

They are challenging the new abortion law but the Mexico Supreme Court won’t consider it until early next year and they are concerned they may not win.

"It will be difficult, because attitudes are changing," Jorge Serrano Limon, leader of the National Pro-Life Committee, told the newspaper. "The pro-abortion current is growing tremendously. At the beginning, there was resistance in the medical community. Now there isn’t any."

He worries that a defeat at the Supreme Court will prompt other Mexican states ruled by leftist governments, such as Guerrero and Tabasco, to legalize abortion as well.

Most women pay nothing for the abortions at the public hospitals, artificially making abortion seem a better alternative, especially for poor women.

Abortion advocates acknowledge the city’s law gives them a stepping stone.

"When people think of abortion, they no longer think of a hidden, shameful, illegal, clandestine and expensive procedure that is full of risks," Marta Lamas, who founded Mexico’s leading pro-abortion group in 1992, told the Times.

Mexico City officials say that about 75 percent of the abortions done there have been surgical in nature, with women in the rest using the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug that has already claimed more than a dozen lives worldwide and six in the United States alone.