The case is representative of the patterns of human rights violations that women face in Mexico. According to the Report Women and Girls without Justice: Reproductive Rights in Mexico, the last official estimate (2013) indicated that the maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the country was 38.2, well above the 22 established by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) fifteen years ago.

Yucatan is one of the Mexican states with the most alarming numbers. The same estimate indicates that the MMR in this state is 50.8. María Ligia was, furthermore, among the 20% of women who are indigenous language speakers.1

In Mexico, according to secondary analyses of official data, a total of 29,822 women died as a result of maternal causes between 1990 and 2013. In 2008, the MMR in the country was 57.2, in 2010 51.5, in 2012 42.3 and in 2013, the last year of valid official statistics until May 2015, 38.2 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births were registered. In absolute numbers, in 2013, maternal deaths were 861 compared with 1,119 in 2008. To reach the goal established in the MDGs however, the MMR in 2015 would have to be 22. This commitment, undertaken by Mexico 15 years ago, is a long way from being met.2

The report Women and Girls without Justice: Reproductive Rights in Mexico states that abortion, still criminalized in most of the country, continues to be the fourth leading cause of maternal mortality in Mexico: between 1990 and 2013 it caused 2,186 deaths. Thus, on average, slightly more than 7.3% of all maternal deaths over the last two decades are linked to unsafe abortions.