As advocates have widened access to abortion across the country, their efforts have at times prompted a revolt among some doctors and nurses. When Mexico City legalized abortion in 2007, many health workers would not perform the procedure. In Oaxaca, which legalized abortion in 2019, a group of doctors fought, unsuccessfully, to get the law repealed.
The backlash has extended to state legislatures as well. Two of the nation’s most powerful political parties added clauses to the constitutions of 19 states that emphasized the government’s commitment to protecting life from the moment of conception.
The move didn’t add any new penalties for abortion, but it was a powerful tool to signal that anyone who failed to report abortions in those states “would be making a grave mistake,” said Martha Lamas, a feminist activist. “It had an impact in the minds of many people.”
In a separate pivotal ruling last week, the Supreme Court declared such clauses unconstitutional as well. By vowing to protect unborn life, “implicitly, what they’re doing is imposing limits on the human rights of other people, in this case of women,” said one of the justices, Luis María Aguilar.
Ms. García says she is still afraid, despite the court’s actions. She lives in Guanajuato, a stronghold of the conservative PAN party, where local politicians came out forcefully against the decision to decriminalize abortion.
More immediately, Ms. García lives with conservative relatives and fears they will kick her out.
Before she left the hospital, Ms. García said she was told to undress for an examination. Then a social worker came into the room and demanded her home address and other personal details so the hospital could report her to the authorities.
Since the emergency room visit, she says, she hasn’t been able to sleep through the night.
“It’s a daily anguish,” she said. “As soon as my dogs start barking, I start shaking, I start thinking it’s them, that it’s done, that I’m going to face the charges.”