The fight for women’s rights has never been linear, in it setbacks and advances are interwoven. While, as feminists know, the rights won can be lost in the face of a conservative impulse or an economic or social crisis, the achievements are only consolidated with constant determination, from resistance to and against the patriarchal order. Today, the action of the Supreme Court of the United States in the face of the anti-rights wave in the states is an example of the fragility of what has been gained in half a century. In contrast, in Mexico the path towards the decriminalization of abortion up to 12 weeks in the states demonstrates both the value of feminist work locally, as well as the importance of not taking for granted (or forever lost) basic rights.

In the case of Mexico, in effect, the fight for freely chosen motherhood, for reproductive justice, faced a conservative barrage starting in 2008 after the ruling of the SCJN that recognized the validity of the 2007 reforms in Mexico City. The road to decriminalization in Oaxaca in 2019 was long and stony, only cleared by the work of committed activists and legislators.

In 2021, four more states have recognized the right to decide: Hidalgo and Veracruz before the new SCJN ruling against the total or disproportionate penalization of abortion, Baja California and Colima afterwards. Although this determination of the SCJN, which finally exceeded legal formalism in its discussion, undoubtedly gave an impetus to the movement towards equal rights for all Mexican women, it is essential to recognize the work of those in their states who opposed the law. Confessional manipulation of the “defense of life” and the persistence of those who continue to defend the cause of women before congresses reluctant to change, such as the one in Quintana Roo.

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The combination of a Court willing to recognize the right of women to decide, and activist groups capable of promoting reforms favorable to them has been crucial in recent months to break with conservative inertia, at least in the law. Of course, it will be necessary to monitor the implementation of the right to ILE in each entity to ensure that it does not remain a dead letter or stop it from prejudice, stigmatization or abuse of conscientious “objection” by medical personnel.

In contrast to these limited but significant advances, in the United States the combination of a conservative court with anti-rights state governments threatens to undermine the reproductive autonomy of women, synthesized in the historic case Roe v. Wade that guarantees the right to abortion until before the viability of the gestation product.

Despite the damage that the SB8 rule that prohibits abortion after the sixth week has already caused among Texas women, the US Supreme Court refused to block it (as requested by the Ministry of Justice) and left only a narrow path for challenge it in local courts. According to progressive jurists and activists, this decision not only allows the reproductive rights of Texans to continue to be violated, it also implies accepting a legal trap through which the State of Texas evades its responsibility (and prevents legal challenges against its agents) by delegating the ” administration “of the law to” the citizenship “(in charge of suing those who violate the prohibition), a kind of legal” outsourcing “, one might say. This precedent is all the more worrying given that the Court’s decision on the case in which the state of Mississippi seeks to reverse Roe v. Wade, and while other states could develop, or already have lists, similar initiatives.

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Obviously, these attacks on women’s rights undermine democracy and legality. Hence the importance of consolidating and expanding what has already been gained.

Cultural criticism


She is a professor of literature and gender and cultural criticism. Doctor in Latin American literature from the University of Chicago (1996), with a master’s degree in history from the same University (1988) and a bachelor’s degree in social sciences (ITAM, 1986).

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