«We welcome the fact that the Veracruz government recognizes women`s autonomy to decide their lives and protects their freedom to choose motherhood. It is not fair that in some parts of the country, women have access to their reproductive rights, such as abortion, while others risk their lives and health and face forced pregnancies depending on where they live,» said Maria Antonieta Alcalde, Director of CAM Ipas. ©Mexico continues to take steps to promote women`s rights. The state of Veracruz has approved the decriminalization of abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy and is the fourth instance in 32 states to recognize this right, alongside Mexico City© (2007), Oaxaca (2019) and recently Hidalgo (2021). In the 12 months of 2021, judicial authorities in the state of Veracruz opened a total of 25 investigation files for the crime of abortion; For this year 2022, there are already 20 complaints in six months. From the Brujas del Mar collective, Arussi Unda said that after the approval of the legal termination of pregnancy, there has been a constant struggle for women to have access to free and complete spaces for this procedure. Although this procedure is legal in Veracruz, abortion is still considered a crime for which investigation files are opened. The Congress of Veracruz on Tuesday approved the legal termination of pregnancy up to the 12th week of pregnancy. (Dark Quarter) Important note from Mexico City on the legal decriminalization of abortion Collective and feminist organizations in the entity continue to protest even after decriminalization because they do not want the law to become a «dead letter», especially because of the lack of training and awareness of public health personnel. One of the recent protests took place as part of the Global Day of Action for Access to Legal and Safe Abortion to demand the development of the local protocol for safe abortion, as happened in Mexico City after decriminalization and legalization in 2007.
Although the technical guideline for safe abortion care in Mexico (published by the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Center for Gender Equality and Reproductive Health) has been in place since June 2021, this document is very general at the federal level and there may be things that are not suitable for all entities in the country. However, on 12 November 2021, their requests were met, since this regulation was published in the Official Journal.   With 25 votes in favour, 13 against and one abstention, local deputies, mainly from Morena, voted in favour of decriminalising abortion. With regard to article 151, it was pointed out that the crime of forced abortion was committed by anyone who terminated a woman`s pregnancy without her consent at any time during the pregnancy. In this case, the offence of forced abortion may be punished under the conditions provided for in the Code. While states that allow abortion only in certain situations or reasons are: Article 149 has established that: The crime of abortion is committed by those who terminate the pregnancy after the twelfth week of pregnancy. For the purposes of this Code, pregnancy is the part of the human reproductive process that begins with the implantation of the embryo in the endometrium. Alejandra accompanies women through the abortion process, pointing out that despite legal action, stigma continues to occur on those who make the decision about their bodies. Mexico City, July 20, 2021.- On Tuesday, the official newspaper of Veracruz published the decree banning abortion up to 12 years. It decriminalizes the week of pregnancy and makes the State the fourth body that respects, recognizes and guarantees the right of women to terminate a pregnancy.
The ruling provides for the repeal of article 152 of the Criminal Code and amends articles 149, 150, 151, 153 and 154 of the same Criminal Code, which clarify and modernize the grounds for the crime of abortion in certain cases. In addition, it is established that it is a crime if you perform a so-called forced abortion against the will of the pregnant woman. The initiative was highly controversial because it was presented on 18 January 2016 by the governor at the time, Javier Duarte de Ochoa, at the request of the civil and religious organization «Sí a la Vida», which had collected 28,000 signatures from citizens in 2015 to promote the project. It was never analyzed in a committee, as it was delivered to the plenary of the local congress in just 72 hours. In the introduction, the former mayor pointed out that abortion is just as illegitimate as the death penalty. In addition, a person has existed since the moment of conception, since Dr. María Cristina Márquez Orozco, biologist graduated from UNAM, in 2007, during the constitutionality examination before the SCJN of the decriminalization and legalization of voluntary abortion in the Federal District of the time (now Mexico City), had stated that «the embryo, formed by the union of an ovum and a spermatozoon, It is a unique and irreplaceable being that differs from the mother, because from the union of gametes, the genes of the chromosomes are randomly recombined.» However, he forgot to mention that in the same audience to which 3 other well-known scientists in Mexico were invited, half of them (i.e. 2) rejected that a zygote was a person. Finally, the tradition of strict separation of Church and State, which had prevailed in Mexico since the promulgation of the Constitution of 1857, had been broken, since the dissemination of the new law had taken place in a private Catholic school in the city of Veracruz, the Rougier Institute; in the presence of the mayor of this city at the time, Ramón Poo Gil, the president of the board of directors of the local Congress, Octavia Ortega Arteaga, and the archbishop of Xalapa, Hipólito Reyes Larios.    Meanwhile, the criminalization of abortion does not reduce the frequency of the practices, but forces women to resort to dangerous or clandestine methods that put their lives and health at risk.
The lack of training of health workers, free spaces for safe abortions, prevention and accurate information on this procedure, as well as on contraceptive methods, remain the main gaps. According to the State Attorney General (FGE), from 2003 to May 2022, 765 investigation files were opened in the state of Veracruz for the crime of abortion, of which 60 were committed criminally. With 25 votes in favour, 13 against and one abstention, the local congress gave way to the reform of the penal code, which allows free abortion. In particular, the reform of Articles 149, 150, 151, 153 and 154; and the repeal of article 152± punishable by six months to four years` imprisonment and a fine of up to 50 days` wages «anyone©who inflicted injury or normal development on the product of conception». The legislative amendments modernize and clarify the reasons for the crime of three-month abortion. For example, it is said that abortion is a crime if it is performed against the will of the pregnant woman. Abortion is a public health problem. States that have improved their public policies, including access to safe abortion procedures, have achieved significant public health benefits for their populations, such as reduced maternal mortality and abortion, as well as morbidity and the burden of hospitalization due to complications, bleeding, infections, and injuries resulting from unsafe procedures. For this reason, the discussion was forwarded to the SCJN so that it could force the Veracruz legislature to finally reform its penal code in favor of women`s reproductive rights in the state. The bill also sought to eliminate the temporary 90-day time limit for abortion in cases of rape, as this was contrary to the General Law on Victims and NOM-046-SSA2-2005 on the prevention and care of sexual violence.
29. However, in July 2020, 4 ministers voted against and only 1 for, with the discussion focusing on whether or not there had been a legislative failure. Ministers who opposed the project, such as Ana Margarita Ríos Farjat, voted this way because they argued that the norm for abortion in Veracruz is «regulated» (by the 5 causes of «non-criminality» that the local penal code has already taken into account) and is therefore not ignored. The only one who voted in favour, Juan Luis González Alcántara Carrancá, who was also the author, assured that the applicants had a legitimate interest in protecting the defence of their human rights and that the Mexican State had also undertaken commitments as a signatory to the conventions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Belém do Pará. Some ministers who voted against, such as Norma Lucía Piña Hernández, supported González Carrancá`s statements, but assured that it was not the content but the form that had been discussed.