Abortion Robot in Mexico 2021

On the International Safe Abortion Day Women on Web joined 80 local groups in demonstrations across Mexico for the abortion robot campaign, rAborta

On September 7th 2021, the Mexican Supreme Court unanimously ruled that criminal penalties for abortion are unconstitutional, coming into effect immediately in the state of Coahuila and setting a precedent for legalization throughout the country. Abortion has been illegal in most parts of the country except in cases of rape and if a woman’s life is in danger.

On the International Safe Abortion Day, on September 28th, Women on Web co-organized a full day of campaigns with local women's groups and brought 11 abortion robots, rAbortas, to 11 states of Mexico. The campaign began early in the morning in Mexico City with a remote consultation conducted by a doctor using a robot. The consultation then launched 11 local demonstrations across the country. Throughout the day and well into the evening, Women on Web team members controlled the robots from Mexico City, where abortion is legal. While in each of the states, during the demonstration a robot approached the local organizers, dispensed an abortion pill to a local activist and recorded the woman ingesting the pill.

At 9am the following morning, six campaign organizers - including two from Women on Web – led a successful press conference that resulted in over 100 publications that echoed the core messages of the campaign in the proceeding days and presented a short documentary from the previous day’s activities. Press were especially captivated by the unique use of robots as a means to demonstrate the benefits of telemedicine abortion and demand equal abortion access throughout Mexico. 

The abortion robot symbolized the transformative potential technology has in delivering services and meeting the needs of women. The operation of the robots from Mexico City – one of the four states where abortion is already legal – to deliver abortion pills in each individual state offered a poignant outline of the legal loopholes utilized to gain access to abortion. By wielding the different legalities in different states, the abortion robot ensured safe abortion access to Mexican women without breaking the penal code. 

Women on Web and Women on Waves would like to congratulate the 80 other groups for collaborating on such a successful campaign. Each group worked tirelessly to ensure each individual demonstration was a success, and we’re extremely proud we were able to participate.