The Mexico City Legislative Assembly voted yesterday evening to legalize first-trimester abortions in a 46-19 vote, with one abstention. Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, has already promised to sign the bill into law, which will likely spark court battles in the predominately Roman Catholic country. The bill, which includes a parental notification requirement for women and girls younger than 18, requires that city hospitals provide abortions in the first trimesters. The new legislation also makes abortion available at a low cost for poor and uninsured women.
Lilian Sepulveda, the Latin American legal advisor for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said of the vote, this "is going to make an enormous difference in the lives of Mexican women… Instead of back alleys, women will be able to go to the doctor's office to get the health services they need," the Miami Herald reports. Pro-choice demonstrators turned out yesterday in support of the City Assembly's vote, the New York Times and the Associated Press report, chanting "Yes, we did it!" and holding signs with slogans including "My body is mine" and "It is my right to decide."
Outside of Mexico City, Mexican law only allows abortion in cases of rape, severe birth defects, or in order to prevent the death of a pregnant woman. Across Latin America, abortions are highly restricted. Only Cuba and Guyana allow women to request the procedure for any reason during the first trimester, and Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Chile all ban abortion completely. Colombia also just liberalized its abortion laws last year, allowing the procedure in cases of rape, incest, when a woman's life or health in endangered, and when a fetus is expected to die.
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .