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Mexico’s supreme court ruled to decriminalize abortion nationwide, a ruling that marks a major victory for women’s rights advocates in the predominately Catholic country, CNN reported.

On Wednesday, the court said in its judgment that national laws prohibiting abortion are unconstitutional because they violate “the human rights of women and people with the capacity to gestate.”

The verdict will require the federal public health service and all federal health institutions to offer abortion services to anyone who requests them, the Associated Press added.

The supreme court’s decision represents a significant step toward expanding abortion access in Mexico, the news outlet said.

In 2021, the top court ruled against a law in the northern state of Coahuila that threatened women who undergo abortions with up to three years in prison and a fine. It said in that verdict that criminalizing the procedure was unconstitutional.

The new verdict was hailed by supporters of reproductive rights, who see it as a major step forward for gender equality.

Opponents, however, said they will continue their fight against expanded access to abortions.

Analysts said that despite the supreme court’s ruling, the battle over abortion is not over in Mexico: Currently, 12 out of the country’s 32 states have decriminalized the procedure.

Others added that it will take time to see how the new ruling will be implemented, especially in states that still uphold restrictive abortion laws.

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