A pro-choice march and rally attended by some 2,000 women was one of the highlights of International Women’s Day celebrations in Guadalajara March 9.
While protesters also issued calls for greater gender equality, abortion was the central theme of the rally.
The signs and chants were plentiful and to the point: “Take your rosaries out of our ovaries, take your doctrine out of our vaginas.”
The women demanded that abortion should be legalized throughout the entire country, and that it should be free for everyone. Mexico City is the only state where abortion by choice – until the 12th week of gestation – is legal.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has suggested that he might hold another “national consultation” regarding the legalization of abortion in Mexico.
Some estimates by independent health-related organizations put the number of illegal abortions carried out each year in the country at around 750,000. According to a 2018 report by Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida, 202,380 women have undergone abortions in Mexico City since the law was changed in 2007. Around 70 percent of the women were from Mexico City, and the rest from other parts of Mexico, the report noted.
Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, the archbishop of Guadalajara, stressed that the Roman Catholic Church “cannot change its position” on abortion, and said rather than a public consultation, the debate should focus on “the meaning and importance of life.”
Even though most Mexican women now use contraception – still officially banned by the Catholic Church – it is far from clear that a majority of the population would favor lifting the prohibition on abortion.
Similar pro-choice protests took place in other Mexican cities on International Women’s Day.