The struggle of Mexican girls and adolescents for the right to abortion

Carlotta, 16, asked in 2015 the termination of the pregnancy of the judicial authorities of the state of Hidalgo after having suffered a violation, but the agent of the public ministry denied this right because he did not meet the requirements for access to it.

Hidalgo state laws included in the conditions for an abortion in case of rape were: that it should take place within the first 90 days of pregnancy, that the victim report the sexual assault before she knew she was pregnant, and that the public ministry check whether the crime of rape was committed; In addition, permission to terminate a pregnancy can only be given by a deputy or a judge.

The young woman traveled with her mother to Mexico City, 90 km away, to access the procedure and terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Until 2021 Congress of Hidalgo decriminalized termination of pregnancy up to the third month of gestation and became a public health service.

Currently, in nine of Mexico’s 32 states, abortion is now legal and part of public health services, but across the country, girls and boys They are part of the age groups that have less access to this right.

From a pool of 857 abortions performed in states where abortion has already been decriminalized in recent years, 1.4% of the beneficiaries are girls between 10 and 14 years old and 15.6% are young people aged 15 to 19. Women aged 20 and over account for 73.9% of beneficiaries, according to data compiled from various access to information requests made by The list up to six states where abortion is decriminalized, not including the nation’s capital.

This September 28 marks Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion And like every year, in Mexico City and the rest of the states, girls, teenagers and women march to demand their right to decide about their bodies.

One of the slogans most heard in pro-abortion protests is that of “sex education to decide, legal abortion to not die.”

Mexico ranks first in teenage pregnancy between the countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), through registration There are 77 births per thousand adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19according to the National Institute on Women and the National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Strategy, in December 2021.

The number of mothers between the ages of 10 and 17 is increasing 19% from 93 thousand 341 registered births in 2020 to 111 thousand 172 in 2021, according to the statistics of registered births of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Inegi).

The increase in this age group is higher than the growth of the total reported birthswhich was from 17.3%going from one million 629 thousand 211 registered births to one million 912 thousand 178.

But before we talk about abortion in girls and adolescents, Melissa Ayalalitigation coordinator for the Information Group on Reproduction Select (GIRE), states that sexuality education for children should begin as a state-guaranteed right.

“It is essential that we speak up why aren’t they given sex education adolescents and why should we focus on abstinence if we don’t teach them to have fun in a way that doesn’t put them at risk,” Ayala said The list.

Minors also have the right to an abortion

The former Legislative Assembly of the Federal District made legal termination of pregnancy possible in 2007, and Oaxaca did the same 12 years later; in 2021 Hidalgo, Veracruz, Baja California and Colima joined, and this year Sinaloa, Guerrero and Baja California Sur reformed their laws to decriminalize abortion.

Official Mexican Standard 046-SSA2-2005 (NOM-046) has allowed since 2009 any minor to have an abortion if the pregnancy is the result of rape, and since 2016 has established that girls and adolescents have a guaranteed right to terminate the pregnancy. pregnancy, regardless of the duration of the pregnancy and without requiring the intervention of their parents or guardians.

Ayala points out that even in countries where there is no decriminalization yetgirls and adolescents can have abortions in public clinics without their guardians present, even if there is no rape involved.

“While it is true that it is not decriminalized in some states of the country, the grounds are applicable and there is a certain presumption where the state should guarantee access to an abortion, for example, if your health is at risk or if your life is at risk and it doesn’t depend on age,” explained Melissa Ayala.

But health risk is not only considered in physical diseasesbut also emotional, psychosocial and mental, that is, if pregnancy affects any of these aspects, it is also considered to have a health risk.

“If a teenager claims that her mental health is at risk because of the pregnancy she is undergoing, the state must guarantee access to abortionthat in those states where the health cause exists,” said the GIRE Litigation Coordinator.

Carlotta’s case reached the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of the Nation in February of this year, where it was decided that the authorities of Hidalgo had violated her right of access to an abortion and granted an amparo to her 23 years, during which he was recognized as a victim, as and the right to compensation for damages.

For the majority of girls and adolescents who become pregnant, access to legal termination of pregnancy is still determined by where they live and their financial means.

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