Guaranteed Access to Safe and Legal Abortions: The True Revolution of Mexico City's Legal Reforms Regarding Abortion

35 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2015

See all articles by Thea Johnson

Thea Johnson

University of Maine School of Law

Date Written: March 1, 2013

Abstract

This Article examines the revolutionary changes made to the criminal and health codes regulating abortion in Mexico City in 2007, which made it legal for a woman to obtain an abortion anytime before the twelfth week of pregnancy for any reason. These changes dramatically expanded the previous law, which had only allowed legal abortions in four limited circumstances. Additionally, this move made Mexico City the only state in Mexico to allow abortions under any circumstance for a proscribed period of time. This Article argues that the true revolution of the 2007 reforms can be found in the amended health code, which guaranteed women access to safe, legal abortions at public hospitals. Historically, even in instances where abortion was legal, it was rarely possible to access, making the right effectively meaningless. By embracing emerging trends in human rights that focus on a woman's right to health and reproductive liberty while performing a careful balancing act between the rights of women seeking abortions and doctors who conscientiously object to performing them, the Mexico City legislature lays out a model for reform for the rest of Mexico and beyond.

Keywords: abortion, Mexico, Latin America, women's rights, human rights, reproduction, reproductive rights, criminal law, health law

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Thea, Guaranteed Access to Safe and Legal Abortions: The True Revolution of Mexico City's Legal Reforms Regarding Abortion (March 1, 2013). Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 44, No. 2, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2574939

Thea Johnson (Contact Author)

University of Maine School of Law ( email )

246 Deering Ave.
Portland, ME 04106
United States

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