TIJUANA (Border Report) — A new abortion clinic has opened its doors in Tijuana not too far from the border, making it easily accessible to American women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.
The facility, located in Tijuana’s popular Zona Río, will be operated by the Marie Stopes International Foundation, which runs clinics in 37 countries.
“With or without us, women in Mexico have been getting a million abortions every year,” said Araceli Lopez, Marie Stopes’ regional managing director in Latin America. “It is better for them to have a place, a safe place that’s high quality where they can have these procedures.”
Lopez added they will welcome American women who may not have access to abortions in their home states north of the border.
“This clinic can help women from the U.S. in need of a safe abortion,” she said.
Critics like Crystal Pérez Lira, who runs a social agency for women in Tijuana, are skeptical, calling the clinic nothing more than a stop in the medical tourism industry.
“Due to its location and prices, many women will be left out and won’t be able to access its services,” said Pérez Lira. “Hopefully, we are wrong with all of this, but to me, it sounds like something to attract more tourists to the city.”
When asked about those concerns, however, Lopez said the Marie Stopes International Foundation operates like a non-profit and will work with women who may not have the resources.
Although abortion is legal in the Mexican border state of Baja California, currently, it is limited to women who are 12 weeks pregnant, and in most cases, limited to women who have been victims of rape, incest or have had bad artificial insemination, or are carrying a fetus that shows genetic defects.
Additionally, there are only a handful of doctors currently licensed to perform abortions.
Lopez also stated the clinic offers contraception, counseling and medications that can terminate a pregnancy.
And if need be, doctors will be on hand to perform surgical abortions, Lopez said.
“Women come here to exercise their right, they mostly come here with their minds made up, only thing we’ll do is give them options,” she said.
One thing Lopez wanted to emphasize is that the clinic also provides services for men in the form of vasectomies.