As U.S. states restrict abortions, pro-choice lawmakers look to Mexico

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) – Pro-choice U.S. lawmakers visiting Mexico said Americans are turning to their southern neighbor to access abortions as some states tighten restrictions on the procedure and with the Supreme Court expected to strike down the right to an abortion.

“As Texas has taken a step back into the dark, I am so grateful that so many people here in Mexico have opened their arms to pregnant Texans and helped them access the care they need,” said Texas state representative Erin Zwiener at a news conference in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey on Friday.

Texas has one of the strictest abortion laws in the country, banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy.

The state lawmakers visited Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey this week to meet with pro-choice advocates, who have made gains in relaxing Mexico’s abortion restrictions even as the United States has moved in the opposite direction.

“We have a lot to learn … from this Mexican model,” said Colorado state senator Julie Gonzales.

In Mexico, activists have for years helped women skirt abortion bans by providing information about how to induce a medication abortion using easily accessible pills.

In the United States, where these pills are less widely available, litigation over medication abortion is likely to take center stage should the Supreme Court gut or overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

For women living along the border, Mexico offers another option, said Arizona state senator Stephanie Stahl Hamilton.

“Viagra is much cheaper in Mexico, and men are willing to come across the border to get their prescriptions,” she said.

“One would wonder, if it’s okay for men, why wouldn’t it be okay for women?”

(Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener and Daniel Becerril in Monterrey; Editing by Sam Holmes)