PBI-Mexico accompanies Consorcio Oaxaca at state legislature vote on reproductive choice

Published by Brent Patterson on

On September 25, the Peace Brigades International-Mexico Project posted on its Facebook page, “#PBIaccompanies Consorcio Oaxaca in the State Congress for the debate on the decriminalization of abortion.”

PBI-Mexico adds, “The 42 deputies will vote on the initiative to reform the State Constitution and Criminal Code that would allow women in this state to voluntarily terminate their pregnancy before 12 weeks of gestation.”

And it notes, “Its approval would make Oaxaca the second entity in the country to make such a reform. Mexico City approved the change 12 years ago.”

Later that same day, Reuters reported, “The Mexican state of Oaxaca on Wednesday approved a bill to legalize abortion, making it only the second region of the predominantly Roman Catholic country after Mexico City to permit the procedure.”

That article adds, “Approval of the measure came just a few days after [Mexican President Andres Manuel] Lopez Obrador sent a bill to the federal Congress that would grant an amnesty to women serving jail terms for abortion.”

This Aljazeera article notes that 9,000 women each year undergo a clandestine abortion in Oaxaca, that 17 per cent of those are Indigenous women under the age of 20, and that it is the third leading cause of death among women in the region.

That news article also notes that 20 women have been imprisoned in Oaxaca for illegal abortions since 2016.

AFP reports, “The state legislature passed the measure in a 24-10 vote after an intense session often interrupted by shouts from activists on both sides of the debate.” And Aljazeera noted, “Campaigners on both sides of the debate took to the streets outside the congressional building during the contentious vote.”

PBI-Mexico has accompanied Consorcio Oaxaca (the Consortium for Parliamentary Dialogue and Equity Oaxaca) since March 2016.

PBI-Mexico explains, “Consortium Oaxaca was founded in 2003, with the objective of promoting a state-level legislative framework that supports women’s rights.”

That post adds, “Many Mexican human rights defenders who defend women’s rights and question traditional patriarchal structures and norms constitute one of the nation’s most vulnerable groups, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst.”

PBI-Mexico further notes in that article that, “The risks faced by consortium members are high because of the cases that Consortium Oaxaca accompanies and its work promoting and defending women’s rights.”

The United Nations Human Rights Council Working group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice has highlighted that 47,000 women die each year from unsafe abortions, a further five million women suffer from some form of temporary or permanent disability, and that the ability for a woman or girl to make her own decisions about pregnancy “is at the very core of [her] fundamental right to equality, privacy and physical and mental integrity and is a precondition for the enjoyment of other rights and freedoms”.

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