Criminalization of Abortion in the Digital Public Sphere

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Abstract

In Mexico, the digital public sphere that is built around electronic social networks has allowed the right of free expression of its users, giving them the opportunity to be part of the debates about issues of national interest. However, the appropriation of tools such as Twitter also triggers the formation of hate speech that encourages exclusion and violence toward vulnerable groups. That is the case of the speeches that emerged after the decision of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation to decriminalize abortion in Mexican national territory. In this sense, this research aims to reveal the contrast between political discourse and Catholic discourse concerning women’s reproductive health. Through the analysis of publication of the news in the ten most popular newscasts in Mexico on Twitter, the standpoint of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, and the Conference of the Mexican Episcopate, this article breaks down the repercussions that women suffer when Catholic discourse becomes the main argument against a legal decision. The results show the seriousness of the construction of hate speech and are essential in a country where between 2010 and 2018, 90,562 women died for causes related to unsafe abortion. To this is added the scarce literature that exists on the subject and the need to make it visible.