The Mexican state of Veracruz approved a constitutional amendment on Thursday that effectively bans abortions by recognizing that unborn babies deserve protection.
The Guardian reports outgoing Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte was one of the strongest advocate for the pro-life law, which “protect[s] life from conception.”
“I congratulate legislators of the Veracruz legislature for saying yes to life,” Duarte tweeted after the vote.
The legislation has one more step to pass through before it goes into effect. A majority of the state municipalities must approve the measure, and news outlets predicted that they are likely to do so.
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Unsurprisingly, abortion activists attacked state legislators for the move, saying they should focus on problems with crime instead of abortion.
“What this means is that the governor cares more about life in gestation than the hundreds of disappeared persons in his state,” the Information Group on Reproductive Choice said on Twitter.
Abortion laws vary in Mexico. According to International Business Times:
The abortion law of the country, effective since April 2007, requires Mexico City health services to facilitate free terminations to any woman up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy. However, it has been made illegal by at least 18 states since its liberation.
If approved by the state’s municipalities, Veracruz would become the latest one in the list of the states that have outlawed the procedure.
Some Mexican states also allow abortions after 12 weeks in certain cases, such as rape or fetal abnormalities, LifeNews previously reported.
In June, the Mexico Supreme Court of Justice ruled three to one against a proposal to legalize abortion across the country, Telsur reported.
The proposal would have removed abortion parameters in Mexican law that protect the unborn child. In Mexico, a woman procuring an abortion can face criminal charges in 18 of the 31 states. The proposal attempted to declare a criminal sentence unconstitutional, and sought to make abortion more accessible, the report states.
There is wide opposition to abortion in Mexico. Last year, more than 120,000 people signed a petition asking the nation’s Supreme Court to reaffirm that “abortion is not a right.”
In 2009, 12,221 unborn babies lost their lives to abortion in Mexico, according to the Guttmacher Institute.