By Daina Beth Solomon
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Lawmakers in Mexico's Hidalgo state on Wednesday voted to lift the penalties for elective abortion, making Hidalgo the third state in the largely Roman Catholic country to let women choose to end their pregnancies.
The initiative passed with 16 votes in favor and one abstention with 28 lawmakers present, Hidalgo's congress said on Twitter.
Only the vast capital of Mexico City and the southern state of Oaxaca also allow women to opt for abortions, as long as they are within 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Hidalgo's law, which follows the same terms, will go into effect once it is published in the state's official government gazette.
Hidalgo, which neighbors Mexico City, previously had only allowed abortion in certain cases, including if the mother had been raped.
Several dozen women clad in green bandannas symbolizing the abortion rights movement burst into cheers and applause outside the session as the vote count was announced, local media showed.
Although Latin America has some of the world's harshest abortion laws, a growing movement has called for a loosening of restrictions and Argentina legalized the procedure in December.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)