Cancun could become an abortion tourism destination with opening of new clinic

Pregnant Credit Unsplash  CNA Unsplash.

Marie Stopes International opened a clinic Nov. 23 in Cancun in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, raising concerns among pro-life leaders about what has been locally called “death tourism.”

Marie Stopes International offers “sexual and reproductive health services, including legal interruption of pregnancy,” i.e., abortions.

According to its website, the presence of the Marie Stopes clinic network in Mexico dates back to 1999. Currently the organization has a presence in the states of Coahuila, Quintana Roo, Mexico City, Chiapas, Colima, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Sinaloa, Veracruz, and Baja California North and South.

The organization’s website also notably features women of color.

Speaking to ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, Alison González, operations manager for the pro-life platform ConParticipación (short for Conscience and Participation) and national coordinator of Un Día Por Todos (a day for everyone), expressed her concern about the possible exploitation of women in a crisis pregnancy.

“It’s unfortunate that instead of addressing the crises that many pregnant women are going through, companies seek to profit from the pain and desperation of many women,” she noted.

Data from the Mexican government’s Ministry of Tourism shows that Cancun attracted 46.6% of the 14.88 million international travelers to the country during the first eight months of the year.

González suggested that opening abortion clinics in tourist destinations like Cancun could become an option for American women, especially after Roe v. Wade was overturned and some states subsequently restricted or practically banned abortion.

“It’s easy to imagine that Cancun could be an ‘ideal place’ to receive American women where, for a cost similar to what they would pay to travel to another U.S. state, they can travel to Cancun, romanticizing a terrible deed such as an abortion procedure,” the pro-life leader warned.

González also pointed out that “if their model works,” this could open the possibility of replicating it in other states and cities in Mexico, “especially those noted for being tourist destinations.”

The pro-life leader said that the decriminalization of abortion on Oct. 26, 2022, in Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located, opened the door to “death tourism.”

“The idea of paying a few hundred dollars for a round-trip flight, a few days of lodging in an all-inclusive hotel in addition to the procedure to have the abortion is extremely attractive,” González commented.

Aarón Lara Sánchez, president of Citizens’ Initiative for Life and Family, an organization with a presence in Quintana Roo, pointed out to ACI Prensa that there is a connection between abortion and sex tourism as “a multimillion-dollar business.”

Lara lamented that “if only a percentage of that amount could be channeled to care for vulnerable women or to true sex education, we could see substantial changes in society.”

Both leaders agreed that genuine support for pregnant women involves understanding their various crises and being a comprehensive support network, addressing needs such as education, decent employment, health services, and public policies that allow women to be mothers and develop personally and professionally. 

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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