MEXICO CITY – Following the recent decriminalization of abortion in Oaxaca – the second Mexican jurisdiction to do so after the capital – thousands of Mexican women marched on Saturday in different cities around the country to demand that the right to terminate pregnancy be recognized throughout Mexico.
The women marched through the heart of Mexico City sporting the green scarves that have become the symbol of the abortion rights movement.
A young student, Nayeli, told EFE that the reason they were taking to the streets was to obtain “legal, safe and free abortion for all women throughout the Mexican Republic.”
“By legalizing it, we are going to ensure that no one dies,” she said, ruing that many women in the country “have to do it clandestinely, and it is outrageous that it’s like this.”
In her opinion, making abortion illegal does not stop people from getting one, it only forces them to perform the act in secret, which carries many risks to the mother’s health.
Another young woman marching for the legalization of abortion, Rosa Isela Serrano, told EFE that “this march is very important because women are dying by practicing abortions clandestinely.”
Like Nayeli, Serrano also welcomed the recent legalization of abortion in the southern state of Oaxaca but said that the conditions under which it has been legalized needed to be looked into.
She cited the example of public hospitals, where abortions are allowed, but religious staff members sometimes make excuses to avoid having to perform them.
“They say there are no medicines, no equipment, etc. It’s legalized, it’s a step forward, but we have to see what that legalization offers,” she said.
Some small groups of demonstrators broke a few windows of the bus station at the Paseo de la Reforma boulevard and sprayed graffiti slogans demanding that abortion be legalized.
As has been happening during women’s marches in recent weeks, some protesters also assaulted and insulted male reporters covering the rally.
On Wednesday, the congress of Oaxaca decriminalized abortion by passing a ruling that authorizes the legal termination of pregnancy up to the first 12 weeks of gestation.
Oaxaca thereby became the second jurisdiction in the predominantly-Catholic country to decriminalize abortion before 12 weeks.
Mexico City had already done so 12 years ago.