In the last decade, there has been a clear tendency toward liberalising abortion laws at the international level. In April 2007, this trend reached the Federal District of Mexico City. Landmark legislation decriminalised abortion on demand up to 12 weeks of gestation. In a region where abortion is still legally proscribed and stigmatised to the detriment of women’s health, lives, and rights, what explains Mexico City’s historic decriminalisation of abortion? How and why did this issue become a political priority? To analyse this question, we propose applying a framework (developed by Jeremy Shiffman and Stephanie Smith) on the generation of political priorities for global health initiatives to the case study of the decriminalisation of abortion in Mexico City. We find that such an analysis of the Mexico City process, using Shiffman and Smith’s four categories, combined with our perspective as NGO activists, offers a compelling and comprehensive explanation of this historic advance toward the recognition of women’s abortion rights.
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