Mexico's border state Quintana Roo becomes 11th to allow abortion

MEXICO CITY, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Lawmakers in Mexico's southern border state of Quintana Roo voted on Tuesday to decriminalize abortion, making it the 11th in a string of states to rewrite their laws after the ban was ruled unconstitutional in 2021.

Nineteen lawmakers voted in favor with three against, approving a change in the law that would decriminalize abortion for women up to 12 weeks pregnant and remove a requirement for rape victims to report their abuser to access the treatment.

"The green tide continues to advance in Latin America," said Planned Parenthood in a tweet, referencing a movement that has over recent years pushed to expand access to abortion across the largely Roman Catholic region.

"The struggle is bearing fruit," added the Quintana Roo Feminist Network in a tweet. "We will insist that abortion is not only legal, but also free and safe."

Abortions became legal in Mexico City fifteen years ago, and in 2021 the country's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that penalizing abortion was unconstitutional.

While rights activists have campaigned to remove state sanctions to ensure women can freely access abortions, less than a dozen of Mexico's 32 states have since adapted their laws.

"Wouldn't it be shameful if given the opportunity to recognize women's reproductive rights in Quintana Roo, we were forced to by the Supreme Court on basis of unconstitutionality," said Deputy Hugo Alday after the early morning vote.

Alday said the state had a duty to reform its laws in accordance with social dynamics and the federal pact.

Deputy Cinthya Millan, who opposed the reform, meanwhile said the session's early morning schedule meant some voices had not been heard. Quintana Roo's Congress had in March rejected a similar bill to decriminalize abortion in the state.

Nearby Guatemala has hardened punishments for women who abort to up to 25 years in jail.

Reporting by Sarah Morland; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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