Mexico Supreme Court says minor rape victims can access abortions without parental consent
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Mexico Supreme Court says minor rape victims can access abortions without parental consent

Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation Tuesday ruled that minors who are victims of rape can access abortions without their parents’ consent or without filing a report.

In a 10-1 decision, the court rejected claims brought by the Aguascalientes and Baja California state governments which contended that the ‘Official Mexican Standard for family, sexual and violence against women. Criteria for prevention and care‘ (NOM) infringes upon criminal administration and parental rights.

Under the NOM, health institutions are obligated to provide the service of voluntary interruption of pregnancy in cases of pregnancy due to rape. It was only a requirement to submit a request when the victim was above 12 years and swear under oath, to tell the truth about the circumstances, without the need for a court order. However, in the case of victims under 12 years of age, the request needs to be submitted by the father, mother or guardian. 

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the provision and held that it was not necessary to have filed a crime report about the rape; the victim only has to swear she was raped. Justice Margarita Ros-Farjat in her judgement noted that 90% of sexual abuse scenarios concerning minors occur in the household. Therefore, subordinating the choice of girls and pregnant women to the consent of their parents could infer the consent of their aggressors in too many scenarios.

Arturo Zaldívar, Minister-President of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation:

In the event of rape, no girl or adolescent should be forced to become a mother, neither by the State, nor by their fathers, mothers, or guardians. Any obstacle to obtain the interruption of pregnancy in these cases supposes re-victimization and unimaginable cruelty.

In September 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that laws (Article 196, Coahuila’s Criminal Code) criminalizing abortion were unconstitutional, authorizing it de facto throughout the country.

Nine of Mexico’s 32 states have decriminalized abortion, including Mexico City in 2007Oaxaca in 2019, Hidalgo & Veracruz in 2021 and, most recently, Guerrero, this month.