Mexico City legislature approves bill that legalizes abortion during first three months' gestation
Source: The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy, International News, 25 April 2007. Full text and references here
On 24 April 2007 the Mexico City Legislature voted 46-19 to approve a bill that would allow pregnant women to obtain a legal abortion during the first three months' gestation. The bill has since passed into law. Under former Mexican City law, abortion was only permitted if the life of the pregnant woman was endangered or if the woman had been raped. Lawmakers from the Democratic Revolutionary Party proposed the measure. Abortion-rights opponents in the city recently collected the 36,000 signatures necessary to ask the city Legislature for a referendum on abortion; however, a referendum is nonbinding on lawmakers. The anti-choice group Catholic Lawyers has said that the Legislature violated the constitution and city laws by ignoring the petition for a referendum on the issue. A senator of the National Action Party said the party will seek to overturn the measure on the grounds that the country's constitution guarantees the right to life. Cuba, Guyana and Puerto-Rico (US administered) are the only countries in the region that allow legal abortions for all women.
The Legislature's vote "is a triumph for democracy," a representative of the group Catholics for the Right to Choose said, adding "It is a triumph for all women, and above all, for the poorest" women in the country. An attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights (New York, NY) said the passage of the bill is "going to make an enormous difference for women in Mexico City in their everyday lives". The attorney added that "instead of back alleys, women will be able to go to the doctor's office to get the health services they need." The executive director of the reproductive rights group Ipas (Chapel Hill, North Carolina), said that the passage of the bill is "a huge victory." He added, "It could start a chain of similar initiatives in other Mexican states and be an example for other countries".
Mexican Federal Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, an abortion-rights opponent, said there would be nothing to prevent residents of other Mexican states from coming to Mexico City to receive abortions at private and public clinics. He added that the new law likely would allow doctors to establish abortion clinics in the city.