MEXICO CITY (CNS) — Mexico’s Supreme Court has discarded a proposal by one of the justices to declare unconstitutional parts of the country’s criminal code on abortion.

Legal observers say, however, the issue is still unsettled and will be revisited by the high court at a later date.

The court’s first bench voted 3-1 against a proposal that would have invalidated laws effectively outlawing abortion and making it punishable by up to five years in prison. The issue will now be studied by the court, with one of the judges from the majority presenting a new proposal for consideration in the future, the newspaper Reforma reported.


The case before the court involved a 41-year-old woman named Margarita, who requested an abortion in 2013 due to her deteriorating health condition. Her request at a hospital for federal government employees was refused on three occasions, though she obtained an abortion at a private clinic. Her fetus also had been diagnosed with Klinefelter syndrome, a genetic condition.

Abortion is legal in Mexico City, though not done in federally operated hospitals unless certain criteria are met.

“The ministers did not discuss the merits of the unconstitutionality of the Federal Penal Code criminalizing abortion; rather, the discussion focused on procedural issues regarding the admissibility of an injunction (sought by the complainant),” the nongovernmental Information Group on Reproductive Choice, which worked with Margarita, said in a statement.

In 2008 Mexico’s Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a Mexico City law decriminalizing abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, although the ruling did not establish jurisprudence, Reforma reported.

At least 18 states have subsequently approved constitutional amendments that prohibit abortion in most circumstances. A constitutional change supported by the Catholic Church to “protect life from conception” in the state of Veracruz was to be voted on in May, but lawmakers temporarily tabled the initiative.