Abortion is legal in Mexico before 12 weeks, but some states in the country still treat it like a crime and prosecute women who have had an abortion anyway.
Despite the fact that abortion was legalized in the country in 2007, many states have anti-abortion legislation that makes it a crime to have an abortion. Fourteen of Mexico's 31 states have such laws and it means that women who have abortions sometimes end up in jail. "Some of the [state] amendments even outlaw the IUD, a popular birth control method," according to the Atlantic.
In Mexico's central Guanajuato state, seven women were just released from prison after having served a number of years (one served eight) for "homicide." The women had been sentenced to 30 years.
It is hard to imagine.
Nobody is pro-abortion. Those of us who identify as pro-choice recognize that it's a complicated decision every woman must make for herself, but to jail women for exercising their right to choose their own body's destiny is truly horrifying.
There have even been trials involving "suspected abortions." In 2007, a woman was sent to jail on homicide charges after her local hospital reported her. According to her story, she was moving furniture when she started to bleed spontaneously. If her story is true, any woman who has a miscarriage caused by some kind of fetal defect is at risk of being thrown in jail.
I was born almost a decade after my mother's generation fought for abortion rights. I have always taken it for granted that each woman has the right to control her own body, but stories like these help me remember what it must have been like in the U.S. during that time.
Nobody likes abortion, but the idea that women would be so desperate they would seek to illegally terminate a pregnancy or be jailed for a "suspected abortion" is enough to make me much more vigilant about the rights I have so easily.
What do you think of Mexico's laws?
Image via Ken_Mayer/Flickr