Mexican Supreme Court decriminalizes abortion in historic shift

FILE PHOTO: A view of The Mexican Supreme Court in Mexico City, Mexico August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Mexico’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday that penalizing abortion is unconstitutional, a major victory for advocates of women’s health and human rights, just as parts of the United States enact tougher laws against the practice.

The court ruling in the majority Roman Catholic nation follows moves to decriminalize abortion at state level, although most of the country still has tough laws in place against women terminating their pregnancy early.

“This is a historic step for the rights of women,” said Supreme Court Justice Luis Maria Aguilar.

A number of U.S. states have recently taken steps to restrict women’s access to abortion, particularly Texas, which last week enacted the strictest anti-abortion law in the country after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.

The Mexican ruling opens the door to the possibility for the release of women incarcerated for having had abortions. It could also lead to U.S. women in states such as Texas deciding to travel south of the border to terminate their pregnancies.

In July, the state of Veracruz became just the fourth of Mexico’s 32 regions to decriminalize abortion.

(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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