Mexico's Supreme Court upheld the capital's abortion law Thursday, setting a precedent for the rest of the country that could inspire other Latin American cities.
Mexico City is one of the few places in Latin America that allows abortion without limitations in the first trimester, although abortion rights groups complain most doctors still refuse to do the procedure.
Within minutes of the 8-3 vote in favor of the law, abortion rights groups were thinking of ways to expand the decision to other parts of Mexico and even Latin America, where abortion is virtually unheard of.
"It opens the road for all of Latin America to start visualizing legal paths to abortion," said Raffaella Schiavon, who directs the international abortion rights group Ipas and has been advising the city government.
Mexico City officials said they were preparing to help other local governments in the region interested in approving similar laws.
Elsewhere in Mexico, abortion is allowed only in cases of rape, when the mother's life is in danger or if the fetus has severe deformities. That is standard across Latin America, where only Cuba and Guyana allow abortions without restrictions in the first trimester. Nicaragua banned abortion in all cases in 2006.
Anti-abortion groups were mobilizing to fight other local attempts to legalize abortion.