By Alternativa Socialista, ISA Mexico
On 6 September, the First Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation granted the appeal lodged by GIRE, a human rights organisation focused on reproductive rights, against four articles of the Federal Criminal Code that mandate prison sentences for people who have an abortion. With this act the Supreme Court of Justice has fulfilled the wish of millions of women to decriminalise abortion in Mexico. This is undoubtedly a huge step forward for the feminist and LGBTQ+ movement fighting for the rights of women and LGBTQ+ people, but it is only organisation and mobilisation in the streets that will make it a reality.
The green tide, as the fight for abortion is known (thanks to the inspiring feminist movement in Argentina that achieved the decriminalisation of abortion in that country in 2020), has achieved a new and unparalleled triumph in Latin America – this time in Mexico. This is the result of the mobilisation of millions of people across the country to achieve the decriminalisation of abortion at national level. This has been a long process that began in 2007 in Mexico City. Afterwards, the green tide spread to various states in the country: Aguascalientes, Baja California, Sinaloa, Guerrero, Colima, Hidalgo, Baja California Sur, Veracruz, Coahuila and Oaxaca.
For real abortion rights
Decriminalisation does not guarantee dignified, safe and free access to legal termination of pregnancy. Therefore decriminalisation must be matched by the allocation of resources and the expansion of access to the health service at the federal, state and local levels to enable full exercise of this right. Otherwise, as has been the case until now, only richer women and pregnant people will be able to have safe abortions while the rest will be forced to have abortions in degrading and potentially lethal conditions, or to continue the pregnancy.
The patriarchal policies of this country will not change simply because they are decreed in local and federal congresses; a radical transformation of society is required. For this reason, in addition to the decriminalisation of abortion, sex education needs to be developed in all the country’s schools. We also need a campaign against the backlash from the right wing that seeks to prevent schools from talking openly about sexuality in the classroom. It is essential to promote the distribution of contraceptives, for the free and full exercise of sexuality for all.
As ROSA International Socialist Feminists and Socialist Alternative, we are convinced that the emancipation of women and our bodies will only be achieved through the complete emancipation of our class – not just through a change in the political conversation and progressive legal initiatives. Undoubtedly, the decision of the Supreme Court has been a great step forward, but it is not enough. There is still a long way to go in the struggle for the rights of working-class women.