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UN urges nations to ‘follow Mexico’s example’, guarantee abortion access

THE United Nations’ human rights chief has urged countries around the world “to follow Mexico’s example” and guarantee safe and legal access to abortion, after the Latin American nation decriminalized it earlier this week.

The move “represents a major victory for women in Mexico in their decades-long struggle for their bodily autonomy and their sexual and reproductive health and rights,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said in a statement issued Thursday.

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday “that the legal system that penalizes abortion in the Federal Penal Code is unconstitutional, as it violates the human rights of women and people with the capacity to bear children.”

The ruling allows people access to abortions in federal health institutions and warns that medical personnel cannot be prosecuted for providing the service.

In 2021, the same court ruled that criminalizing abortion was unconstitutional, paving the way for Wednesday’s ruling.

The UN rights chief also called on Mexico to implement the ruling swiftly.

“I call on Mexico’s Congress to take immediate steps to enact the necessary legislation to expunge abortion from the Federal penal code, and for state legislatures where abortion remains criminalized to promptly follow suit,” he said.

The decriminalization is a landmark decision in Mexico, where more than 80 percent of the country’s 130 million residents are Catholic. The Church has previously objected to abortion reforms.

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