On September 28th, within the framework of the Global Day of Action for a legal and safe abortion, feminist marches were organized in several cities of the Mexican Republic as well as throughout Latin America. The movement called the “Green Tide” demands that abortion be legalized not only in cases of sexual violence or a risk to the health or life of the mother but extensively and that it be free. Although in some Latin American countries abortion is already legalized (Cuba, Uruguay, Guyana and French Guiana) in the vast majority it is only possible under certain conditions. In addition, in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Haiti termination of pregnancy is illegal and women face years and sometimes decades of prison if they abort.
However, regardless of their legality, abortions occur, often in clandestine circumstances that, as a study by the Guttmacher Institute indicates, “put women’s health at risk and consume scarce resources.” According to its calculations, between 750 thousand and one million clandestine abortions are performed annually. Not infrequently they are carried out by minors, and in no other country in the world are there more childhood pregnancies than in Mexico. According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 65% of Mexican women between the ages of 15 and 19 already have at least one child.
In Mexico, demonstrations were held in Toluca, Morelos Guadalajara, Tepic, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Oaxaca and Veracruz, among other cities. The largest of these occurred in Mexico City with thousands of participants, mainly women but also some men.
In the context of a tense debate about the possibility of legalization, several incidents, threats and aggressions against the organizers of the marches occurred. In Mexico City some drivers tried to block the marches.
In San Cristobal de Las Casas, women received threats since March of this year, which “put at risk [their] lives and [their] right to freedom of expression.” They denounced that “a secret group in the social network Facebook called “Motonetos to the rescue “, (…) that is formed mostly of men” has “shared screenshots of, at least six activists.” The men threatened to “lynch the activists alive”, as well as spraying them with gasoline and setting them on fire. The direct threats forced feminist activists and groups to change the date of the march that took place one day before the Day of Global Action. The organizers asked the government for precautionary measures, so the municipal and state police, state transit, urban mobility and the public ministry were present. In the end the march ended in the Zocalo de San Cristobal without excesses or acts of violence.
For more information in Spanish:
La marea verde en la CDMX: mujeres marchan por la legalización del aborto en México (Animal Político, 28 de septiembre 2018)
Oleaje de Marea Verde llega a Oaxaca ; Piden aborto legal (El Universal, 23 de septiembre de 2018)
Activistas pro aborto legal activan la “Marea Verde” en Oaxaca (El Universal, 28 de septiembre de 2018)
México primer lugar en embarazo infantil (El Sol de Toluca, 19 de abril de 2018)
Embarazo no planeado y aborto inducido en México: causas y consecuencias (Instituto Guttmacher, Noviembre 2013)
Abortos clandestinos en México: las cifras y las alternativas (El Diario, 20 de agosto de 2018)
Pronunciamiento sobre las amenazas que hemos recibido defensoras de los derechos sexuales y reproductivos en SCLC, Chiapas (Aborto legal para decidir SCLC, 20 de septiembre de 2018)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Oaxaca: Nine Femicides after 28 Days of Gender Violence Alert – Some Municipalities Yet to Implement Declaration (Oct. 2nd, 2018)
Oaxaca: Segob decrees Gender Violence Alert in Oaxaca for unfullfillment of governor Murat (Sept. 18th, 2018)
National/International: “Final Observations on the Ninth Periodic Report from Mexico, the Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women” Published (Aug. 6th, 2018)
Guerrero: Femicides Rocket Despite Gender Violence Alert (July 12th, 2018)
Guerrero: Femicides on the Rise in 2017 (Jan. 26th, 2018)
Oaxaca: Special Comission to Investigate Femicidal Violence Set Up after Delays (Jan.24th, 2018)