TEXAS, USA — A group of U.S. state legislators from Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and North Carolina toured Mexico and said this week they are impressed by efforts to expand abortion access south of the border.
The legislators visited the country's three largest cities, Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey to meet with activists and Mexican legislators.
They praised the efforts of Mexican activists to guarantee access for women who want an abortion, even those from U.S. states like Texas.
"It is incredibly touching to see people opening their homes, opening their hearts, spending time and effort helping American women, Texas women predominantly for now, access care," said Texas state Rep. Erin Zwiener.
There is anecdotal evidence that women from Texas are crossing into Mexico to obtain abortion pills, and some Mexican activists want to help them.
Under a 2021 law, abortions in Texas are prohibited once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually around six weeks and before some women know they’re pregnant. Enforcement is left up to private citizens who are deputized to file civil lawsuits against abortion providers, as well as others who help a woman obtain an abortion in Texas.
Zwiener said about 45% of Texas women who obtained abortion outside the state between September and December went to neighboring Oklahoma.
But last week, Oklahoma lawmakers passed legislation banning abortion at conception, the strictest in the nation.
Zwiener said she expects that might send Texas women to New Mexico or Louisiana.
Rebeca Ramos, director of the Mexican rights group Gire, said: “One of the priorities in both countries is to guarantee safe access to abortion for those who need them, in places with legal restrictions.”
Mexico's Supreme Court ruled last year that it was unconstitutional to punish abortion. As Mexico’s highest court, its ruling bars all jurisdictions from charging a woman with a crime for terminating a pregnancy.
Statutes outlawing abortion are still on the books in most of Mexico’s 32 states, however, and nongovernmental organizations that have long pushed for decriminalization are pressing state legislatures to reform them. Abortion was already readily available in Mexico City and some states.