In Mexico , doctors who work in public hospitals have the right to refuse to perform an abortion by arguing conscientious objection if the medical procedure goes against their values or beliefs . On the other hand, every woman who has been sexually abused has the right to have a safe, legal, and free abortion at any public hospital, moreover, it is not necessary to file a lawsuit in order to have access to a safe abortion.
What happens when the rights of victims of sexual abuse and doctors collide? The General Health Law establishes the following: “When the life of a patient is at risk or when it is a medical emergency , conscientious objection can’t be invoked. On the contrary, they will incur in the causality of professional responsibility.”
According to the norm 046-SSA2-2005 , issued by the Health Ministry , the Mexican government has the responsibility to hire more staff who is trained to perform abortions in case doctors argue conscientious objection , although this is not always the case.
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For example, in 2019 , Fabiola found out her underage daughter had been sexually abused by her stepfather and she was now pregnant. At the general hospital in Cabo San Lucas , Baja California Sur, a gynecologist refused to perform an abortion because it went against his values and religious beliefs.
In recent years, the country has taken important steps towards the protection of women who have been sexually abused , however, a lot of women are not aware of their rights and other sectors have shown resistance; these factors result in very few cases of women who exercise their right to abortion . On March 2, EL UNIVERSAL revealed that between 2016 and 2019, women reported around 60,000 sexual abuse cases but only 422 women requested an abortion . For experts, the relation between sexual assaults and the request for abortions does not make sense.
It is useless to have laws that protect women if they are not implemented if women are not aware of their rights. Mexican authorities are facing huge challenges since violence against women has been normalized.
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