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Congress in the state of Veracruz, Mexico on Tuesday approved legal reforms to decriminalize abortion within 12 weeks of pregnancy. With the legal changes, the state becomes the fourth in the country to decriminalize abortion, after Mexico City, Oaxaca and, recently, Hidalgo.

With 25 votes in favor, including a majority of the deputies of the National Movement for Regeneration (Morena), and 13 against, a reform of the Penal Code of the State of Veracruz was approved. The legal changes mean that women who miscarry for any reason before 12 weeks gestation will not be arrested or punished with educational or health measures. Currently, abortion is only allowed in cases of rape, non-consensual artificial insemination, risk of maternal death, recklessness or neglect and deformity.

The approved reform also provides that if a woman aborts after 12 weeks of pregnancy, 15 days to 2 months of free treatment will be imposed on her. And the crime of forced abortion has been included, which will apply to anyone who terminates a woman’s pregnancy without her consent, at any time during pregnancy.

In Mexico City, where termination of pregnancy has not been a crime since 2007, there were 231,191 abortions in 2020. In the rest of the country, with the exception of Oaxaca and Hidalgo, the practice does not occur. is not criminalized when a woman is raped and some states have reasons for fetal viability, maternal health and extreme poverty.