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Mexico: Supreme Court Protects Rape Victims

Ruling Ensures Their Access to Emergency Contraception and Abortion

(New York) – In a landmark decision today, Mexico’s Supreme Court required all of the country’s states to distribute emergency contraception and to provide access to abortion for rape victims. The decision affirms women’s rights to health and life by enabling rape victims to avoid forced pregnancies, Human Rights Watch said.

“The Supreme Court’s decision protects women’s rights,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “The state should not force rape victims to suffer an imposed pregnancy.”

The Supreme Court’s decision came in response to a challenge brought by the state of Jalisco to a February 2009 federal health directive (NOM-046-SSA2-2005) that requires health workers to offer emergency contraception and legal abortion to rape victims.

In a report released in 2006, “The Second Assault,” Human Rights Watch documented the severe mental distress and suffering of women and girls who became pregnant as the result of rape. The distress deepened as rape victims routinely found little support for their plight in the justice and health systems, the report found.

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