Mexican Supreme Court Will Consider New Abortion Law

The Mexican Supreme Court announced on Tuesday that it will hear a case filed by the National Human Right’s Commission (NHRC) and the Attorney General’s Office to determine whether Mexico City’s law allowing abortion in the first three months of pregnancy is constitutional. The Mexico City legislative assembly passed the law, which requires public hospitals to provide abortion services during the first trimester and makes abortion available at a lower cost for poor and uninsured women, just over one month ago. Outside of Mexico City, Mexican law permits abortion only in cases of rape, severe birth defect, or in order to prevent the death of a pregnant woman.

According to the Associated Press, Supreme Court Justice Sergio Salvador Aguirre said that the NHRC’s petition arguing that abortion violates the constitutional right to life is strong enough to warrant a review by the country’s highest court. The federal government is also arguing that the Mexico City legislative assembly does not have jurisdiction over health laws. A date has not been announced for opening deliberations. Eight of the Court’s 11 justices must oppose the law in order to strike it down.

Meanwhile, Mexico City mayor Marcel Ebrard has announced that hospitals will continue offering the services unless a court orders them to stop. “Our position is fixed,” Mayor Ebrard told the AP. “The health department will go on working.” To date, about 700 women have requested abortions and some 215 women have received abortions since Mexico City liberalized its abortion law.


Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report 5/31/07; AP 5/29/07; Reuters 5/29/07; Feminist Daily News Wire 4/25/07

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