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Sinaloa becomes the 7th state in Mexico to decriminalize abortion

Another Mexican state moved to decriminalize abortion this week. But in neighboring Sonora, laws penalizing the procedure remain on the books.

Lawmakers in Sinaloa decriminalized abortion in the state up to 13 weeks of pregnancy. It’s the seventh of Mexico’s 32 states to get rid of laws criminalizing the procedure.

Last September, Mexico’s Supreme Court made a landmark decision, striking down an abortion law in the northern state of Coahuila, and ruling that all laws criminalizing abortion are unconstitutional. But 25 states, including Sonora, have yet to amend their statutes.

"We're not at the forefront in issues of human rights," said lawyer Estefania Roman, who works for a nonprofit dedicated to fighting for marginalized groups. "Unfortunately, Sonora remains behind."

The state’s anti-abortion laws are among the most punitive in Mexico. People charged with terminating a pregnancy facing up to six years in prison. However, the Supreme Court ruling means that law is unlikely to be enforced.

Roman submitted a court appeal this week, on International Women's Day, as a symbolic action calling out the state's continued violence against women, she said.

The injunction could result in a deadline for Sonora’s governor and congress to bring the state in line with the supreme court ruling. She said a similar measure was helpful in pushing Sonoran lawmakers to finally pass marriage equality laws; but it took six years after Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting same-sex unions were unconstitutional.

Kendal Blust, an Arizona native, reports from KJZZ’s bureau in Hermosillo, Sonora, focusing on business and economic relationships between Arizona and northern Mexico.Prior to joining KJZZ, Kendal worked at the Nogales International, reporting on border and immigration issues, local government, education and business. While working on her master’s degree at University of Arizona School of Journalism, she did stints with the Arizona Daily Star and the Tico Times in Costa Rica, and completed a thesis project about women art activists in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands.In her pre-journalist life, Kendal was a teacher, first helping Spanish high school students learn English, then heading to Tucson to teach fourth grade.When she’s not in the newsroom, Kendal enjoys getting outside for a hike or a swim, catching a good movie, hanging out with family and friends, and eating great food.