As activists have expanded access to abortion across the country, their efforts have occasionally sparked an uprising among some doctors and nurses. When Mexico City legalized abortion in 2007, many health workers did not perform the procedure. In Oaxaca, which legalized abortion in 2019, a group of doctors fought unsuccessfully to have the law repealed.
The backlash has also spread to state legislatures. Two of the country’s most powerful political parties added clauses to 19 state constitutions that underscored the government’s commitment to protecting life from the moment of conception.
The decision did not add new sanctions for abortion, but it was a powerful tool to signal that anyone failing to report abortions in these states “would be making a big mistake,” said Martha Lamas, a feminist activist. “It had an impact in the minds of a lot of people.”
In a separate landmark decision last week, the Supreme Court also declared such clauses unconstitutional. By swearing to protect unborn life, “implicitly what they are doing is imposing limits on the human rights of other people, in this case women,” said one of the judges, Luis María Aguilar. .
Ms. García says she is still scared, despite the actions of the court. She lives in Guanajuato, a stronghold of the conservative PAN party, where local politicians have spoken out forcefully against the decision to decriminalize abortion.
More immediately, Ms. García lives with conservative parents and fears they will kick her out.
Before leaving the hospital, Ms García said she was told to undress for an exam. Then a social worker entered the room and asked for her home address and other personal information so that the hospital could report her to authorities.
Since the emergency room visit, she says, she hasn’t been able to sleep through the night.
“It’s a daily angst,” she said. “As soon as my dogs start barking, I start to shake, I start to think that it’s them, that it’s done, that I’m going to face the charges.”