Abortion and Federalism in Mexico: Assessing a Decade of Constitutional Litigation

An element that singularizes the Mexican constitutional debate on abortion in the Latin American scenario is no doubt federalism, since the Supreme Court decided in 2008 that abortion was to be adjudicated under this frame, and not under a fundamental rights frame. While this approach has been criticized for its minimalism, and for generating a mosaic with 32 different regulations, many of them restrictively reshaped, backlash way, in response to Mexico City’s regime of partial legalization, in this paper I will underline that decentralization has also had non-negligible advantages. I will argue that decentralization have exerted an important legitimizing effect on progressive reforms in the rest of the country and abroad, and an effectivity-reinforcing effect, which —as suggested by a decade of constitutional litigation in Mexico — we have little reason to believe would have occurred if centralization and unification had rather been the selected path.