Mexico’s Supreme Court has unanimously voted to decriminalize abortion.
During arguments beginning Monday, eight out of 11 of Mexico’s Supreme Court judges spoke out in defense of decriminalizing abortion.
The move makes Mexico the most populated Latin American country to allow abortion, The New York Times reported, and comes shortly after Texas’ Heartbeat Act went into effect, banning the procedure after six weeks.
“Today is a historic day for the rights of all Mexican women,” Supreme Court Chief Justice Arturo Zaldivar said in a public statement, the Times reported. “It is a watershed in the history of the rights of all women, especially the most vulnerable.”
Mexico’s conservative National Action Party condemned pro-abortion arguments ahead of the court’s decision, The Washington Post reported.
“We are in favor of defending life from the moment of conception until natural death,” the party said in a statement, calling for more adoption services and more help for pregnant women.
Four Latin American countries allow abortions under almost all circumstances—Cuba, Argentina, Uruguay, and Guyana—and four of the 32 Mexican federal entities have legalized abortion—Oaxaca, Veracruz, Hidalgo, and Mexico City, according to The Washington Post.
Women accused of aborting an unborn baby in El Salvador can be prosecuted on homicide or assault charges and face prison time.
A 2014 Pew Research Center study found most Latin Americans were opposed to legal abortion: 95% of those in Paraguay, 92% of those in Guatemala, 89% of those in El Salvador opposed legal abortion, and 67% of those in Mexico, 49% of those in Chile, and 43% of those in Uruguay opposed legal abortion.
“The survey finds that across Latin America, men and women are about equally likely to oppose legal abortion, as are older and younger adults,” Pew Research Center reported.
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