The comparison with Texas is just too obvious.
As the door to abortion all but closes in Texas, a window has opened just south of the border in Mexico. On Sept. 7, Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a landmark 8-11 ruling that decriminalized abortion in the country — effectively clearing the pathway toward legal abortion access across the country. This ruling comes amid a near-outright ban on abortion in Texas as Senate Bill 8 (SB8) went into effect on Sept. 1, prohibiting abortion after six weeks. The contrast definitely isn’t lost on Twitter: These tweets about Mexico legalizing abortion call out the irony of the situation, and goodness, there’s a lot of it.
Mexico’s ruling emerged from a 2018 case based in Coahuila, a border state, that had tightened its anti-abortion laws to punish alleged violators with up to three years in prison for having an abortion, even in cases of rape. However, the court ruled that the restrictions were unconstitutional. Supreme Court Chief Justice Arturo Zaldivar, who voted to strike down the anti-choice law, lauded the decision. “Today is a historic day for the rights of all Mexican women,” he stated in a Sept. 7 public address after the votes were cast, per NPR. “It is a watershed in the history of the rights of all women, especially the most vulnerable.”
The moment was a huge victory Mexico’s pro-choice movement: For years, pregnant-capable people and allies have been marching in the streets to advocate for the right to an abortion. Prior to the ruling, only four states in Mexico allowed abortions in most circumstances, while 28 states penalized it, per the Associated Press. The decision will also immediately affect Coahuila, which borders the U.S. state of Texas.
And the ruling is particularly ironic in light of what’s going on just across the border. On May 19, Governor Greg Abbott signed SB8 into law, which went into effect on Sept. 1 after the Supreme Court failed to block it. Although abortion in Texas is still (technically) legal, SB8 prohibits legal access to abortion care as soon as cardiac activity is detected in an embryo, or around six weeks of gestation. The deadline is also before many people are likely to know they’re pregnant, and amounts to a near-total ban on abortion: per The New York Times, 85 to 90% of abortions take place after six weeks. People all over the internet are calling out Texas for turning back the clock on reproductive rights — especially amid Mexico’s landmark ruling to decriminalize abortion.
Aside from banning nearly all abortions in Texas, SB8 also turns over enforcement of the ban to private citizens, who are now allowed to bring private lawsuits against anyone “who performed, aided and abetted, or intended to aid and abet an abortion in violation of the ban.” Anyone who is ruled to have helped someone access abortion could be on the hook for a “bounty” of at least $10,000. So as Mexico moves toward a brighter future for abortion access, it looks like the Lone Star State has left its citizens stranded in the wild west.