Mexico’s Supreme Court voted on Tuesday to decriminalize abortion, effectively releasing all women who have been jailed for choosing to seek the procedure. According to the Washington Post, the ruling does not mean abortion will be widely available, but it is a massive step for a country where an overwhelming majority of people are Catholic. Eight of 11 Supreme Court justices supported decriminalization. The ruling comes amid a rapidly spreading women’s rights movement and the secularization of government.
Melissa Ayala, coordinator of litigation for the Mexican feminist organization GIRE, called the ruling a “historic moment for feminists and activists,” adding that it will “set the agenda for the entire Latin American region.” More than one million abortions are performed a year in Mexico, with the vast majority done unsafely. The procedure is still illegal in most Latin American countries, except Argentina, Cuba, Uruguay, and Guyana.