Mexican activists are preparing to shuttle abortion-seeking women from Texas and other states into Mexico, where they can legally terminate their pregnancies, the New York Times reported this week.
The plan, which also consists of smuggling abortion-inducing drugs over the border, is reportedly part of a controversial effort to help pregnant women evade increasing restrictions on abortion being implemented across the United States.
Earlier this year, a strict abortion ban was signed into law just over the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. The new law prohibits the operation after fetal cardiac activity is detected, something that generally occurs at six weeks' gestation.
Similar laws are expected to be put in place elsewhere in the U.S. if the Supreme Court rolls back or completely overturns Roe v. Wade. Earlier this month, conservative justices on the high court appeared to signal a readiness to dramatically roll back abortion rights as they heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.
Faced with the prospect of sweeping abortion restrictions in the U.S., feminist activist groups in Mexico that have for decades advocated for abortion in Mexico and Latin America have now turned their attentions northward.
"Activists are planning to help shuttle Texans and other Americans seeking abortions into Mexico, and to build networks to ferry the abortion pills north of the border or send them by mail — something they’ve already started doing and now plan to expand," the Times reported.
Dozens of activists have reportedly scheduled a meeting in January to work out the details. Some have already started shipping pills across to the U.S.
The paper noted that "the strategy is highly contentious because it involves foreign activists working directly to undermine American law," but the activists are reportedly undeterred by the potential of legal repercussions.
“We aren’t afraid,” one of the activists, Verónica Cruz Sánchez, told the Times. “We are willing to face criminalization, because women’s lives matter more than their law.”
Several factors working against the prevention of her criminal enterprise may be working to encourage her boldness.
On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made permanent a rule enacted during the early parts of the COVID-19 pandemic that allows abortion drugs to be delivered by mail. While many states still ban the delivery of the drugs by mail, the FDA's ruling makes prosecuting the action more difficult, especially if the senders are from outside the country.
Experts told the Times that the activists would have to be caught and arrested in Texas or extradited to the U.S. in order to face punishment.
“This is a really terrible, lawless attack on life,” John Seago, the legislative director for Texas Right to Life, reportedly said of the plan. He added that such efforts would “make it absolutely more difficult to do it, to enforce these laws.”