Oaxaca could on Wednesday become the second state to decriminalize pregnancy termination for any reason during the first 12 weeks of gestation, when a legislative proposal was discussed in the local Congress.
The initiative, proposed by the coordinator of Morena’s parliamentary group in the state, Laura Estrada Mauro, seeks to reform the Political Constitution of Oaxaca, as well as the local Penal Code.
But what does the initiative say?
The text explains that these reforms do not propose abortion as another method of planning, but rather seek to prevent women from being morally prosecuted or punishable by imprisonment if they terminate their pregnancy by self-determination of their will.
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According to MEP Estrada Mauro, the legislative provisions that prevent women from accessing termination of pregnancy «constitute a form of discrimination, first, because their effect is to prevent women from accessing a procedure that could necessary for the enjoy of their rights… followed by the purpose of such provisions being discriminatory because it underestimates its ability to make responsible decisions about his life and body.»
The legislator argues that access to the practice of abortion is a privilege in the country, as there is an economic cost that prevents women in situations of poverty from affording the procedure.
In Oaxaca, according to the Member, an average of 11,500 abortions are recorded on average each year, in unsanitary and unsafe conditions. Between January and August 2019, 9 research folders have been initiated in the state for abortion cases, being considered a crime; 12 cases were reported in 2018.
Therefore, the legislator proposes to reform Article 12 of the Constitution of Oaxaca, and articles 312, 315 and 316 of the Penal Code for the State, so that abortion is only considered as a crime after the tenth week of gestation, and not «at any time of pregnancy,» as the Penal Code currently says.
A crime shall be considered, punishable from six months to two years in prison, with the exception of the following cases:
Read more: Abortion in Mexico: In which states are women most criminalized for terminating pregnancy?
Where abortion is caused only by the recklessness of the pregnant woman or departfrom a verifiable natural cause;
Where the pregnancy is the result of a violation and the victim decides by himself or through his legitimate representatives the free, conscious and informed interruption of the corresponding product, with medical intervention and up to within the twelveth week of gestation;
Where the abortion is not caused, a pregnant woman is in danger of her health or death, in the opinion of the attending physician, hearing the opinion of another doctor, provided that this is possible and the delay is not dangerous and until the tenth week of gestation;
When abortion is due to serious eugenic causes according to the prior opinion of two experts.
What do the current laws in Oaxaca say about abortion?
Currently, the Penal Code of Oaxaca states in Article 312 that abortion «is the death of the product of conception at any time of pregnancy», and inducing a woman to practice one has as punishment between three and eight years in prison , with your consent, and six to ten years in prison in the event of physical or moral violence.
Doctors, surgeons, or midwives who perform abortions may be suspended for two to five years in the exercise of their profession.
Find out: More than 2,000 criminal cases opened in Mexico for abortion, since 2015
According to Article 315, women who perform abortions and «do not have a bad reputation, have managed to conceal their pregnancy and this is the result of illegitimate union» can be punished with between six months and two years in prison, and if committed with any of these three aggravator is, the penalty would be between one and five years in prison.
In the current version of the Penal Code, the punishability in cases of abortion caused by the recklessness of the woman is exempt, when the pregnancy is the result of a violation or when, if not provoked, the life of the mother is endangered.
Inmujeres backs abortion legalization
Through a statement, the National Institute of Women (Inmujeres) called on the deputies of Oaxaca to, in line with the promulgation of the Year for the eradication of violence against women, «to unite to vote for the initiative… that will allow women in this state to fully exercise their sexual and reproductive rights.»
The Institute recalled that local congresses «must promote and guarantee women their autonomy and the right to decide on their bodies, in strict follow-up to the secular nature of the Mexican state.»
«The Inmujeres urges state institutions to enrich women and girls’ autonomy in all orders of government, placing at the centre the realization of their life projects and the strengthening of decision-making capacities» Concluded.
INMUJERES welcomes the initiative to reform the State of #Oaxaca Constitution to guarantee women’s sexual and reproductive rights.#DSYR
➡️Go to the statement: https://t.co/E1tUPaydVZ pic.twitter.com/DMuMWrTKWz
— Inmujeres Mexico (@inmujeres) September 24, 2019
Senators from Morena supported Oaxaca’s legisle for women’s freedom.
«It is an obligation as legislators to ensure that rights are universal, accessible and available to all Mexican women, including both the right to health, the right to non-discrimination and the right to decide,» said Senator Martha Lucia Micher Camarena, president of the Commission for Gender Equality.
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