We have just returned from a very emotional final vote in the full session of the Supreme Court, where eight of 11 justices declared the Mexico City law constitutional! We are absolutely thrilled! On this monumental day in Mexican history, we want our supporters to be the first to know about the triumph, in which the Pro-Choice Alliance undeniably played a role.
A large number of the justices based their votes on the concept that although the right to life is protected in the constitution, it does not supersede other human rights, including a woman’s rights to life, health protection, equality, freedom from discrimination, self-determination, sexual and reproductive freedom, bodily integrity, and privacy. Several justices mentioned the social aspects of abortion, but the strongest arguments were those based strictly on the Mexican constitution and law.
Two of the justices who voted against the law’s constitutionality made infuriatingly misogynistic remarks during their arguments. The Chief Justice based his arguments on the claim that women have access to contraception; implying that those who face unwanted pregnancy have no one to blame but themselves. At one point, he stated that forced maternity does not exist. Another claimed that pregnancy and motherhood is only a “light” imposition on women!
The legal importance of this decision cannot be underestimated, especially given the proportion of the majority. As we wrote yesterday, four votes would have meant that the law is not unconstitutional. Six votes guaranteed the law’s constitutionality. Although eight votes were secured, legal jurisprudence was not established given a technicality in one justice’s vote.
These legal subtleties will be extremely important as we move into the Mexican states to expand abortion rights. With this vote, there is no constitutional reason for Mexican states not to include the decriminalization of abortion in their penal codes. In fact, the Supreme Court validated local congresses’ legitimacy to do so. We will carry out an in-depth legal analysis of the ruling’s implications to inform our upcoming work and we will also analyze it further when the official sentence is released in a few weeks.
Much work remains to be done. We are galvanized by this strong legal recognition of women’s human rights to life and health by the highest court in the nation, and are ready for the fight that awaits us to ensure this right for all Mexican women. We know, and want you to know as well, that this would not have been possible without the Alliance, and the Alliance would not exist without strong donor backing. Thank you for your invaluable past and present support. It is bearing wonderful fruit!
Today is truly a dream come true; one that we and thousands of Mexican women have waited years and even decades for.
In resounding victory!
María Consuelo Mejía, María Eugencia Romero, María Luisa Sánchez Fuentes, Raffaela Schiavon, Sandy García, Gillian Fawcett, Emily Barcklow, Jennifer Paine, Elsa Pérez, Sandy Poire and the rest of the staff at the Pro-Choice Alliance organizations