Mexico decriminalizes abortion as Texas bans it. Could US women cross the border to end their pregnancies?

A woman holds a banner that reads "Free abort" during a rally to celebrate the Mexican Supreme Court decriminalizing abortion, in Saltillo, Mexico, September 7, 2021. Photo by REUTERS/Daniel Becerril.

Mexico is one of the most Catholic countries in the world, and yet on Tuesday, its Supreme Court unanimously ruled to decriminalize abortion in all of its 32 states.

The ruling comes years after activism by women’s groups, according to Washington Post correspondent Mary Beth Sheridan. Prior to the ruling, abortion was legal in just four Mexican states. In other states, jail time was possible for people trying to get an abortion or helping someone get an abortion.

Now all states will be required to amend their laws to remove penalties for the health procedure. Sheridan adds that people who have been convicted or are in jail due to abortion-related crimes will be released.

Mexican sentiment over abortion is mixed, she points out: “There's a poll that came out this morning showing roughly half of Mexicans approved of decriminalizing abortion. The other half don't. You have seen some of the debates themselves changing. … The abortion question is seen by many Mexicans as an issue of women who are poor, young teenagers who get pregnant who didn't have information about birth control, and so on. It is seen as a social problem in many cases.”

In the future, Americans might travel to Mexico to get abortions, Sheridan notes.

“The legal changes in Mexico won't happen overnight. … But there is a really quite significant medical industry in Mexico that really caters to Americans,” she explains. “The care in Mexico is a lot cheaper, and you can get very good Mexican medical care. So I definitely can see that as a possibility on the horizon.”

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