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Mexico Supreme Court refuses to uphold injunction decriminalizing abortion in Veracruz
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Mexico Supreme Court refuses to uphold injunction decriminalizing abortion in Veracruz

The Supreme Court of Mexico has ruled against an injunction that would have granted abortion rights in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

The injunction issued last year by a local judge in Veracruz had decriminalized the termination of pregnancy in the first 12 weeks, and it was sent to the Mexican Supreme Court for approval. In a 4-1 decision, the judges Wednesday cited technical grounds and stated that upholding the injunction would “greatly overstep the constitutional powers” of the Supreme Court. The judges did not address the issues of women’s reproductive rights and compliance with relevant international treaties.

The injunction of 2019 had ordered the state legislature of Veracruz to remove a provision from legislation that criminalizes abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, permits termination of pregnancy for medical reasons and removes the gestation limit on abortions in cases involving rape.

At present, out of the 31 states and the capital, only Mexico City and Oaxaca have decriminalized abortions (in 2007 and 2019, respectively). The other states limit abortions to cases involving rape. The Supreme Court decision upholding Mexico City’s abortion legislation had given a right to the states to form their own health and abortion policies. Since then, more than half of Mexico’s states have approved laws or constitutional amendments that criminalize abortion in every or in most circumstances. Veracruz was one of these states, and had approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 to “protect life from conception.”

Mexican women’s rights groups, including the Information Group on Reproductive Choice (GIRE),  had hoped that the Supreme Court would uphold the injunction, especially since it had in 2019 upheld a decision that permitted victims of sexual violence to terminate their pregnancy and to undergo abortions for medical reasons. Such a decision could have set a precedent for other states to issue similar injunctions.