Although efforts were made during the 1980s to liberalize abortion, the Mexican Criminal Code for the Federal District 1931, remains in force. Abortion is illegal except when caused by the negligence of the pregnant woman during pregnancy, when the pregnancy is the result of rape or when the continuation of the pregnancy endangers the life of the woman. The doctor must first obtain the opinion of another, except when there is a danger of delay.

Some Mexican states have more liberal abortion codes, whilst two states (Guanajuato and Queretaro) permit abortions only in cases of rape. Despite the restrictive Federal law in Mexico, abortion is widely practiced, partly through liberal interpretation of the medical indication for abortion.

In October 1990, in the state of Chiapas, the law was widened to permit virtual abortion on request during the first 12 weeks. However strong opposition from the Catholic Church and conservative politicians resulted in the Chiapas voting to suspend the changes.