In news that might shock the “build that wall” types, it turns out that people from the United States are now fleeing to Mexico to get adequate health care.
You see, late last year, Mexico’s Supreme Court finally decriminalized abortion.
And as many of you probably recall, last month, the United States decided to go in the total opposite direction, and reverse Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision granting the constitutional right to an abortion.
The decision has gone over as expected. As it stands at least eight states have banned abortion outright. And in Georgia abortion is now banned before six-weeks, which is often before someone would know they’re pregnant.
When state lawmakers return from their vacations for a new session, we will almost certainly see new abortion restrictions. And advocates argue that roughly half of all states could ban the procedure within the year.
As this has all unfolded, our neighbors to the south, Verónica Cruz, founder of Las Libres, an abortion advocacy group in Mexico, have been paying close attention:
“It surprised me that Mexico is going forward, and the United States is going backward,” Cruz says. “I never imagined that.”
Cruz says she and other advocates in Mexico have been watching closely as an increasing number of US states passed abortion restrictions. And by the time the US Supreme Court decision came down, she says, they were ready to help.
People from the United States coming to Mexico for medicine is not a new phenomenon. In 2020, Vox news reported that Utah’s government insurance program was paying for people to travel to Mexico or Canada to get their prescriptions because it was cheaper than buying them in the US.
But the new wave of people going south for abortion care is a recent development, although with some strong pre-Roe historical roots.
Cruz’s group primarily helps pregnant people in Mexico access medication abortion, according to CNN, but since Roe was reversed they’ve seen a huge uptick in callers in English.
It’s a clear sign that demand for help from people living in the United States is growing as abortion becomes more and more inaccessible in the US south.
“The numbers are going to keep growing,” Crystal P. Lira, founder of Bloodys Red Tijuana, another group that facilitates medication abortion told CNN. “It’s a snowball effect.”