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Women in Mexico use mobile apps during at-home abortions | Women News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



Mexico City, Mexico – In the middle of the global pandemic crisis, Maria Muñoz, a 26 year-old journalist, found herself facing an unwanted pregnancy in Mexico City.  Fearful of contracting COVID-19 at a hospital or clinic she decided to abort at home, with assistance coming via the popular messaging service, WhatsApp.
An increasing number of women in Mexico are turning to online support networks who advise them on how to use misoprostol, an over-the-counter ulcer medicine, to abort.
Maria found about this network through a friend, contacted them and was added to a WhatsApp group alongside psychologists, and what they call “abortion accompaniers”.  They checked in with her frequently to see how she was feeling, sent her infographics on where to get misoprostol, how to take the pills, what she should eat beforehand and sent her reminders so she would keep to the proper administration schedule.
While Muñoz lives in Mexico City, one of two places in Mexico where abortion is legal until the 12th week of pregnancy, she still opted for the home-online support option. “I decided to do it at home because many times you go to the clinic and there are anti-right groups that attack you,” she told Al Jazeera. COVID-19, economic accessibility and the ability to have her partner by her side also contributed to her decision.
Sofia of the organisation Morras Help Morras shows how she uses her cell phone to help accompany women who are clandestinely aborting across Mexico where it is illegal in 30 states [Andalusia Knoll Soloff/Al Jazeera]Following her abortion she was added to a WhatsApp group of women across Mexico who had been through the process and wanted to share their experiences. “It really affected me to listen to women who aborted where it was not legal and they had to suffer from double fear – the fear of aborting and also the fear of being incarcerated for abortion when they are in such a vulnerable moment,” added Muñoz.
In 30 Mexican states, women’s options to abort are very limited. The legal termination of pregnancy is only permitted under certain circumstances including rape or health factors that put the woman’s life at risk. Abortion was legalised in Oaxaca in 2019 yet very few clinics provide it as a service, making women’s access there basically non-existent.
The reproductive justice collective Morras Help Morras, which translates to Girls Help Girls, has assisted women across Mexico to terminate their pregnancies. The group receives  on average nine to 10 requests a day from women interested in terminating their unwanted pregnancy at home, said Sofia, the organisation’s co-director, who did not want to share her last name as she could face legal repercussions. They have tens of thousands of followers on social media networks helping them reach women all over the country.

Sofia starts her workday on a computer screen full of open social network windows; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp.
A young woman writes to her on Facebook: “I’m 15 years old, I know I’m very young. I don’t know if I’m pregnant. I really don’t want to be, because I have so many family problems.” Sofia responded gently, and explained that the first step is to take an at-home pregnancy test. She reassures her, “Relax, we’re here for you.”
Sofia has received training that qualifies her to be an abortion companion. She is not a medical professional and has recommended those who are terminating their pregnancy to speak with gynaecologists or doctors who are part of their network, if they have any complications.
“Clandestine is not a synonym for dangerous. Clandestine means [aborting] in an illegal manner but from within the underground we provide objective, scientific information,” Sofia told Al Jazeera. “Women need to have access to safe abortions because it is their right, it’s a matter of autonomy.”

Since COVID-19 shelter-at-home orders were declared in Mexico on March 23, 2020, reproductive justice advocates have documented the increased difficulties that women have faced in obtaining abortions. Prior to the pandemic, the NGO Fondo Maria provided economic assistance to dozens of women every year to help them travel to Mexico City where they could have abortions in a free and legal manner.
According to government statistics, 71,418 women from across Mexico aborted within Mexico City between the years 2007 and 2020.  During the height of the pandemic, only five of the 13 abortion clinics in the city remained open.
“Abortion access was already a challenge and the pandemic has intensified the difficulties,” said Sofia Garduño, an advocate with Fondo Maria. While the Mexico City government declared abortion an essential service, there was little clarity about which clinics were open, and access to contraceptives diminished as women feared leaving home as COVID cases skyrocketed across the enormous metropolis.
Garduño also emphasised the importance of groups that accompany women via social networks who want to terminate their pregnancy during the pandemic. “Many women find themselves at home alongside their entire family and they cannot just make a phone call to obtain the necessary information. That is why we started communicating with them via more discrete methods via social networks,” Garduño told Al Jazeera.
Women hold green bandanas during a protest in support of legal and safe abortion in Mexico City, Mexico, on February 19, 2020[File: Edgard Garrido/Reuters]Garduño believes high unemployment levels and the economic crisis that accompanied the pandemic, as well as increased levels of domestic violence have led many women to seek out abortions over the past year.
The legal battle
Last December, following a long battle waged by feminist activists, Argentina decriminalised abortion up until 14 weeks.  This galvanised the “Marea Verde” or Green Wave pro-choice movement across Latin America. In Mexico, women sporting bright green bandanas poured into the streets demanding that their government do the same.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who holds daily press conferences, has avoided responding to questions about abortion. When he was asked after the Argentinian vote if he would decriminalise abortion he suggested an informal referendum. “For very controversial decisions I have always thought that it is best to consult the population and not impose anything on them,” he said. “In this case, the women can freely decide.”

#AbortoClandestinoBUAP pic.twitter.com/nIExx7B5TU
— Morras Help Morras (@helpmorras) March 31, 2021

The non-profit organisation Group for Information on Reproduction and Choice, (GIRE) has been fighting for the past 29 years to legalise abortion in Mexico and it does not support a public referendum. “We are talking about human rights, and women have to decide about their bodies. It is not a decision that should be decided by a popular vote,” said Rebeca Ramos, the director of GIRE.
“The legalisation debate is now in the field of the state governments,” Ramos told Al Jazeera.
Mexico City has mandated that women can now abort in the case of rape up until the 20th week, whereas in normal circumstances it is permitted until 12 weeks.
There are three cases to be decided by the Supreme Court challenging state laws in Sinaloa and Coahuila that state that life starts at the moment of conception, as well as a challenge to a health law that would ban medical professionals from refusing to administer abortions in cases when the women’s life is at risk. In July 2020, Mexico’s top court ruled against a proposal to legalise abortion in the state of Veracruz.

Ningún imperio puede contra nosotras 😎 Celebremos este #MayTheFourth disfrutando nuestra autonomía 💚💜 Resistamos juntas, el Fondo MARIA y la fuerza están contigo 💪 #MayThe4thBeWithYou pic.twitter.com/sMWvF32VPi
— Fondo MARIA (@FondoMARIAmx) May 4, 2021
In the states of Puebla and Quintana Roo, activists have taken over state congress buildings hoping to push their agenda for reproductive rights. On Saturday, the Puebla State Parliament will convene and pro-choice activists will be pushing for the legal termination of pregnancy to be debated.  A 94-day sit-in in the state of Quintana Roo helped force abortion onto the agenda there in March. Legislators voted against decriminalising.
Activists have said the vote itself is a victory and have challenged the decision with legal appeals, called amparos.
As long as abortion remains illegal for most Mexican women, groups like Morras Help Morras, Fondo Maria and others say they will keep filling the void and providing women with information on how to abort safely in their own homes.
You can follow Andalusia K Soloff on Twitter and Instagram at @andalalucha








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73-Million-Year-Old Talkative Dinosaur Species Found In Mexico From “NDTV News – World-news”



The discovery is still under investigation.Mexico City, Mexico: Paleontologists identified a new species of dinosaur after a specimen from about 73 million years ago was found in northern Mexico, the country’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said Thursday.The scientists said the conditions in which the dino was found explain its preservation.”About 72 or 73 million years ago, a huge herbivore dinosaur died in what must have been a body of water full of sediment, so that its body was quickly covered by the earth and could be preserved through the ages,” the institute said in a statement.The animal is called Tlatolophus galorum. Its tail was discovered first, in the General Cepeda area of the northern state of Coahuila in 2013.As excavations continued, scientists eventually discovered 80 per cent of its skull, its 1.32-meter crest and bones such as its femur and shoulder, which allowed researchers to finally realize this year that they had a new species of dinosaur on their hands, the INAH said.”We know that they had ears with the capacity of hearing low-frequency sounds, so they must have been peaceful but talkative dinosaurs,” the statement said.Paleontologists also believe that the dinosaurs “emitted strong sounds to scare away predators or for reproductive purposes.”The discovery is still under investigation, but research about the ancient reptile has already been published in the scientific journal Cretaceous Research, according to INAH.”It is an exceptional case in Mexican paleontology,” the INAH said. “Highly favorable events had to occur millions of years ago, when Coahuila was a tropical region, for it to be conserved in the conditions it was found in.”The name Tlatolophus is derived from the indigenous Nahuatl language word tlahtolli — which means word or statement — and the Greek word lophus, meaning crest.The animals crest’s shape looks like what the INAH said is “a symbol used by Mesoamerican people in ancient manuscripts to represent the action of communication and knowledge itself.”(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)







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Mexico, US stress attacking cartels' business models, guns From “World”



A security meeting between Mexican and U.S. officials has stressed attacking drug cartels’ business interests, the guns they use and the addictions they profit from







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Under US pressure, Mexico orders GM to repeat worker vote | Automotive Industry News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



Mexican authorities have ordered the General Motors (GM) Co union in the city of Silao to repeat a worker vote following pressure from US legislators for the automaker to address alleged abuses that could potentially violate a new trade deal.
Mexico’s labour ministry said on Tuesday it found “serious irregularities” in last month’s vote, which is required under a Mexican labour reform to ensure employees are not bound to contracts that are signed behind their backs and to keep wages low.
Such votes are part of Mexico’s broader effort to uphold worker rights as part of a new free trade pact that replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA.
The concerns over GM come amid various complaints in recent days regarding Mexican workplace abuses, just as US activists and politicians begin to flex new powers to enforce labour standards south of the border enshrined in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The largest US labour federation, the AFL-CIO, on Monday urged the US government to file a complaint under USMCA against Tridonex, an car-parts plant in the Mexican border city of Matamoros where it said workers have been blocked from electing an independent union.
Potential abuses
In the GM case, some ballots were destroyed during the union-led vote, Mexico’s labour ministry found. It also said the union, which is part of the powerful Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), refused to give labour inspectors documentation of the vote tally.
US representatives Dan Kildee, Bill Pascrell and Earl Blumenauer, all Democrats, called on GM to answer questions about potential abuses.
The largest US car manufacturer “has a responsibility to speak out against violations of labor and human rights abuses at the Silao GM plant,” they said in a letter to GM Chief Executive Mary Barra.
The legislators also cited news reports indicating that GM officials had removed independent inspectors, among other intimidation tactics aimed at staff.
GM has denied any wrongdoing and said government-approved inspectors were not prevented from entering the voting site. It also said it condemned labour rights violations and had hired a third-party firm to review the matter.
GM’s union must hold a new vote within 30 days, the ministry said, after the initial vote “violated principles of safety and certainty”.
Hugo Varela, the head of the CTM in Guanajuato state, where the Silao plant is located, did not respond to a request for comment on the labour ministry’s order. He previously said that CTM was committed to complying with the law and keeping jobs in Mexico.
A spokesman for the US Trade Representative’s office declined to comment on GM.
Uphold worker rights
The disputed vote at Silao, which employs some 6,000 people, came several days before GM said it would invest $1bn in an electric vehicle manufacturing complex in Mexico, triggering criticism from the United Auto Workers.
UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg told the Reuters news agency separately this week that it was “concerned and is having appropriate discussions” about the Mexico vote.
In addition, Geneva-based Industrial Global Unions and Toronto-based Unifor said in letters to GM President Mark Reuss last week that the incident appeared to violate the USMCA and urged GM to protect workers.
Unifor’s president, Jerry Dias, expressed his “outrage” at the situation and said he would explore “all available avenues” to uphold worker rights in Mexico, including dispute resolution tools under the USMCA.
The Biden administration is prioritising the enforcement of existing commitments in trade agreements by the US’s partners. Democrats and American labour unions made strong worker rules and enforcement mechanisms for Mexico a key demand to win their support for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement that went into force in July. They were concerned that the pact the USMCA replaced was lacking in these provisions.







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Tropical Storm Andres forms in Pacific off southwest Mexico From “World”



Tropical Storm Andres has formed off the southwestern coast of Mexico







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Mexico City metro collapse victims’ families to get compensation | Mexico News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



At least 26 people were killed and dozens more injured when a metro overpass collapsed in the Mexican capital on Monday.The families of more than two dozen people killed when a train overpass collapsed in Mexico City last week will receive financial compensation, the city’s mayor has announced, as the country continues to reel from the deadly incident.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Saturday that about $35,000 (700,000 pesos) would be made available to families of the 26 people who died on May 3.
The relatives will receive about $2,500 (50,000 pesos) from the city, as well as $32,650 (650,000 pesos) from the metro train line, Sheinbaum said.
“We are not going to leave them alone,” she said during a news conference. “We are going to be with them and we are going to give them all the support they require.”
More than 80 people were also injured in the collapse of an elevated section of the Line 12 metro line in southeast Mexico City.
Calls for accountability have grown as funerals for the victims were held over the past several days, and hundreds of people protested on Friday in the city to demand answers.

Sheinbaum and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador earlier promised that a thorough investigation into what happened would be conducted.
“A thorough investigation will be carried out … to know the truth,” Lopez Obrador said the day after the incident. “From that, the responsibility will be established.”
The attorney general’s office, its Mexico City counterpart and an external auditor, Norway’s DNV GL, are investigating, government officials have said.
But Sheinbaum has faced questions about whether the metro network has been properly maintained since she took office in 2018.
Line 12 was built when Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard was the mayor of Mexico City.
Ebrard called the incident “the most terrible accident we have ever had in mass transportation”.
Relatives of the victims shared personal stories this week, including Luis Adrian Hernandez Juarez, whose 61-year-old father Jose Luis took Line 12 every day to get to his job at an auto body shop.
An injured man is helped after the elevated section of the Line 12 metro line collapsed in Mexico City [File: Carlos Ramirez/EPA]Gripping his father’s death certificate, Hernandez Juarez said emergency personnel told him his father was crushed beneath other passengers. “It’s really terrible to see your father that way for the last time,” he told The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, some commuters who regularly travel on the line, said they had long feared such an incident would take place.
“Ever since it opened, it was scary,” Maria Isabel Fuentes, a domestic worker, told AP about Line 12.
But she said since the metro serves low-income neighbourhoods of the capital, it did not seem to be a priority. “We’re the same ones who always pay.”







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Mexico City metro: Hundreds protest at scene of deadly rail collapse From “BBC News – World”



Demonstrators from around Mexico City demand justice after 26 people died when an overpass collapsed.







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Mayor of Mexican town and two officials arrested over disappearance of activist | Mexico From “World news | The Guardian”



The mayor of a town in the Mexican state of Oaxaca and two officials in her administration have been arrested over the disappearance of an anti-corruption activist who went missing after a protest outside the local town hall.Claudia Uruchurtu Cruz, 48, whose sisters live in Sheffield, disappeared on 26 March after participating in a demonstrations over allegations of arbitrary detention by local police in the municipality of Nochixtlán, about 375km south-east of Mexico City.Uruchurtu left the council office protest on her own, according to family, but was allegedly grabbed and forced into a red truck as she walked away from the scene. The vehicle was later found parked on municipal premises and identified as a municipal vehicle, according to family.The three suspects were taken into custody on Friday morning after an investigation into “the forced disappearance”, the Oaxaca state prosecutor’s office said in a statement. The suspects were not named, but Mexican media identified the mayor as Elisabeth Victoria Huerta of Nochixtlán and said the local police chief was among the other detainees.Uruchurtu’s three sisters: Elizabeth, Hayde and Sara said in a statement on Friday that she had run afoul of local officials, “when [she] publicly and directly questioned [them] and started to incessantly denounce arbitrary and corrupt acts by municipal authorities”.“She did things by the book,” said Chris Roast, Claudia’s brother-in-law told the Guardian from Sheffield. “She had a stack of paperwork a metre high” and had made complaints to the proper state and federal authorities, he added. “Claudia was an activist and she accused the mayor of a lot of corruption.”The arrests in Oaxaca made national news in Mexico as the mayor belongs to the same political party as President Andrés Manuel López Obrador – commonly called Amlo.Amlo won office in 2018 promising to put an end to rampant corruption and political repression. Mexican politicians and police routinely harass and intimidate citizens and journalists who denounce corruption.Last month a group of British MPs wrote to the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, urging the UK government to help in the search for Uruchurtu.







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Ahead of Kamala Harris meeting, Mexico President accuses US From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador (Reuters)MEXICO CITY: President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday that Mexico has complained to US officials about their alleged financing for an anticorruption group that he said has engaged in political activity against his administration. Speaking at a news conference shortly before a scheduled online meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris, Lopez Obrador displayed tax records that appeared to show payments from the US government to Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity. “It is an interventionist act that violated our sovereignty,” said Lopez Obrador, who announced that Mexico had filed a diplomatic note with the US embassy. The issue arose a day earlier when a reporter from online news magazine Contralinea asked the President about its report of US financing for the anticorruption organization. The organization has issued reports critical of some of Lopez Obrador’s major initiatives, including the cancellation of a partially built Mexico City airport and the construction of a tourist train around the Yucatan Peninsula. In the diplomatic note shown by Lopez Obrador Friday, Mexico assures that it respects the role of civil society organizations and shares an interest in eliminating corruption, but said that people connected to the group “have been explicit in their political militancy against the government of Mexico.” The note, dated Thursday, asked the US embassy to confirm financial support from the US agency for International Development and if so, suspend it. The organization said Thursday via Twitter that the complaints displayed a serious misunderstanding of international cooperation. “We reiterate the absolute legality of our work,” it said, and rejected any suggestion of interventionism and asked for what it said had become constant attacks from the government to stop. The embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Lopez Obrador said he didn’t plan to raise the issue in his meeting with Harris, which he said would deal with immigration and his proposal to expand a Mexican program making cash payments to farmers who grow certain trees and to have the US expand visa opportunities to those who participate. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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Trees for visas: Mexico wants jobs programme, US offers relief | Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador News From “Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera”



Mexican President Lopez Obrador and US Vice President Kamala Harris hold meeting to discuss migrant surge, corruption.Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pitched a tree-planting jobs programme in Central America that he said should lead to work visas in the United States, in immigration talks on Friday with US Vice President Kamala Harris.
At the start of the call, Harris said the United States and Mexico must fight violence and corruption together, along with the root causes of migration in Central America.
“Together, we must fight violence, we must fight corruption and impunity”, Harris said.
President Joe Biden has entrusted Harris with leading efforts to cut immigration from Mexico and Central America’s “Northern Triangle” countries – Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador – as the administration grapples with an increase in people crossing into the United States at the southern border.
Harris addressed the crisis on the US-Mexico border, which she hoped to alleviate by providing relief to the Northern Triangle.
“[M]ost people don’t want to leave home and when they do it is often because they are fleeing some harm or they are forced to leave because there [is] no opportunity”, she said.
Lopez Obrador said he had a specific proposal he wanted to discuss with Harris. He did not give details, but told reporters minutes earlier that the tree-planting proposal was at the top of his mind.
During the call, the Mexican president noted “we have a common border that is over 3000km [1864 miles] long and we need to understand one another and avoid fighting”.
Lopez Obrador, who touted his good relations with both the previous Trump administration and the current Biden administration, told reporters at his regular news conference on Friday morning that he also favours safer migration.

Mexico’s AMLO tells @VP “There have been differences among us however we have a common border… We need to understand one another and avoid fighting”
He will share a “specific proposal” on migration policy w/ her privately pic.twitter.com/9p9gXOgq52
— Saleha Mohsin (@SalehaMohsin) May 7, 2021

“If there’s a regular, normal and orderly migratory flow, we can avoid the risks migrants take who are forced to cross our country,” he said.
The trees-for-visas proposal was met with some surprise when Lopez Obrador previously raised it at a Washington climate summit in April.
Before the meeting, Lopez Obrador also announced Mexico had sent a diplomatic note to the US asking for an exexplanation about its funding of an anti-corruption group critical of the government. He did not bring up the request during the meeting.
Asked what Harris hoped to accomplish in the talks and what if any agreements were expected, Ricardo Zuniga, the US special envoy on Central America’s Northern Triangle countries, said on Wednesday that the discussions would delve into immigration but also go beyond that issue.
“We’re undertaking these kinds of engagements with the view of the totality of our relationship with Mexico in mind,” Zuniga said. “Mexico is our largest trading partner … We’re deeply connected to them through economics and, through … our value chain and production chains.”
Harris has said she will visit Mexico and Guatemala on June 7 and 8. It will be her first foreign trip as vice president.

“No matter how much effort we put in on curbing violence, on providing disaster relief, on tackling food insecurity, on any event … we will not make significant progress if corruption in the region persists,” Harris said last week.
US facilities packed with underage migrants are being used to criticise the Biden administration’s handling of migration by both the Republican party and some progressives.
The majority of the migrants are unaccompanied minors, some as old as 17.








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