Decriminalization of abortion is not a determining factor in reducing maternal mortality in CDMX – El Sol de México

By 2022, the reason for maternal mortality (MMR) in the CDMX It was 26.2 maternal deaths per 100 thousand registered live births. A figure that, like other states, decreased in 2023 to stand at 14.4, according to the Health Secretary.

It is recognized that, although maternal mortality in CDMX has had a significant decrease in recent years, it is not a benchmark in the decrease with respect to the rest of the entities.

Read more about FinD’s special on maternal mortality: Scientific evidence illuminates the path to preventing a tragedy: Maternal death

From 2002 to 2022, the MMR in CDMX fell 52%. However, states like Morelos, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Querétaro and Aguascalientes had more significant declines in the same period.

It is striking that, according to information provided by the Public Health Services of Mexico City – with data from the DGIS/DGE/SINAVE of the Ministry of Health – in 2022, the highest number of maternal deaths with residence in said entity occurred in women who did not have any rights. That is to say, women who were more vulnerable by not being able to access public health through a social benefit.

Access to health services, and in particular maternal health services, represents one of the greatest barriers to the well-being of women in the capital. In CDMX, according to CONEVAL28.7% of the population lacks access to health, a figure that increased considerably compared to the 20.1% observed in 2018.

The main causes of maternal death in Mexico City, like the rest of the republic, are obstetric hemorrhages, hypertensive diseases and other direct and indirect obstetric causes. Causes that have been maintained historically.

However, in the context of debates about decriminalization of abortion where the positive impact on the maternal mortality, it was argued that the provision of abortions by the State in environments considered “safe” would cause significant decreases in this problem. This idea was based on the understanding that abortions in “unsafe” environments are a relevant factor in increasing mortality.

The key to continuing and sustaining the reduction in maternal mortality in CDMX is to provide guaranteed, quality access to maternal health care.

However, today there is ample evidence that the decriminalization of abortion is not a condition for reducing maternal mortality. As has been observed, various federal entities have achieved significant reductions in the MMR, without making reforms regarding abortion or promoting it as a Public politics.

On the contrary, the conditions under which thousands of abortions in CDMX remain unknown, which is why it is stated that CDMX’s abortion policy did not end the secrecy of the practice of abortion.

The decriminalization of abortion is not a condition for reducing maternal mortality

Without a doubt, CDMX has taken very important steps towards combating maternal mortality. However, the decrease in maternal mortality was observed prior to the decriminalization of abortion and continued its course.

The causes of maternal death in CDMX not related to abortion policy have fallen drastically, for example, obstetric hemorrhages that in 2006 (prior to decriminalization) caused 20 maternal deaths, in 2023 they did not register any deaths.

Based on the data obtained from CDMX and the rest of the federal entities, there is no evidence that the decriminalization of abortion may have some significant effect on the reduction of the maternal mortality ratio.

On the contrary, the abortion policy in CDMX It has not resolved the structural problems faced by millions of women in the capital, such as lack of access to health and social security, especially for women in situations of poverty or social abandonment.

The key to continuing and sustaining the reduction in maternal mortality in CDMX is to move towards the implementation of strategies focused on social support, reduction of violence against womenincreased schooling, improvements in maternity-related benefits and, above all, guaranteed and quality access to health care maternal health.

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