Monday, February 6, 2023

Pro-abortion US lawmakers seek help in Mexico

MEXICO CITY ( Associated Press) – The United States has a lot to learn from Mexico when it comes to the fight for abortion access.

That’s the main finding of a delegation of local US legislators who visited several cities across the country this week to learn about the work of Mexican activists and politicians at a time when access to voluntary abortion is tightening in the United States and Mexico. . in the opposite direction.

He told The Associated Press that what surprised lawmakers most were two things. On the one hand, the strength and strategies of Mexican civil society, which has been the main engine of the gradual gaining ground for decision-making rights in a strongly Catholic country that has criminalized abortion for decades.

On the other hand, the generality with which abortions are performed in Mexico City, the first entity to legalize it 15 years ago and where, unlike other regions, abortions are performed like any other medical service and without prejudice.

“It’s like going to the dentist,” said Julia Gonzales, a senator from Colorado, something unimaginable even in states like hers, where abortion is legal.

as the representative of Texas. Erin Zweener explained Friday at the end of the tour that, while it was believed in the United States for decades that abortion rights had always been guaranteed, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling in the 1970s that now stands to be reversed “As activists in Mexico worked and tested new narratives, they became stronger and convinced people that their message was correct”.

To do this, they created networks and coalitions to “remove stigma, provide care, support women, and advance laws”.

Advances have been remarkable but currently only eight of the 32 Mexican institutions have a legal right to abortion up to 12 weeks. However, in September the Supreme Court ruled that decriminalizing it was unconstitutional, starting to decriminalize it in other points.

Furthermore, although in Mexico, as in the United States, abortion is regulated in the states, federal regulations have promoted exceptions that apply throughout the country due to judicial resources—such as in rape cases.

You can’t put someone in jail for having an abortion in Mexico anymore, but it’s happening in Texas.

Representative Zwiner of Texas mentioned the case of a woman who went to a hospital after a miscarriage and was treated there. Legislators assure that this is not something extraordinary and that is why they are so afraid to seek medical help even if spontaneous abortion occurs.

The legislator stressed that it was inspiring to see how Mexican activists have responded and supported those who “by speaking up about their fears, helped them know what to expect and be prepared for different outcomes”. “

“We would benefit from learning from them” when starting this work in the United States, added the legislator, who opted to build strong state and interstate social coalitions and also with Mexico.

Texas almost completely restricted abortion rights in September and other states followed suit, leading many to seek termination of their pregnancies in neighboring states or, in the case of border states, Mexico.

Zweener indicated that 45% of Texans seeking abortions went to Oklahoma from September to December of last year, and that since that state has now multiplied restrictions, it is expected that the flow will move to New Mexico or Louisiana.

Therefore, “one of the priorities in both countries is to guarantee access to safe abortion for those who need it with legal restrictions,” said Rebecca Ramos, director of GEAR, one of the Mexican organizations that participated in the meetings. Said.

There are no statistics for those who choose to cross into Mexico, but Mexican activists assure that the number has risen significantly in recent months, in part because of legal advances, including buying the pills needed to perform medical abortions in Mexico. It’s easier to stay home in Mexico, an option considered safe by the World Health Organization.

To facilitate precisely this choice, beginning in 2022, social groups on both sides of the border have been vocal with a virtual accompaniment of activists to provide both the information and pills needed for medical abortion to women in states like Texas. began.

“It’s so exciting to see (Mexican) people open their homes, their hearts, their time and effort to help American women,” said Zwiner, a Democrat.

Legislators from Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and North Carolina visited Mexico City, Guadalajara and ended their trip in the northern city of Monterrey.

Nation World News Desk
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