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News from Latin America: Abortion legalized in Mexican capital


A long-run fight for life has begun in Mexico

On April 24 the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City, dominated by members of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD1), voted to legalize abortion up to the twelfth week of pregnancy in the Mexican capital. Pro-lifers throughout the country are preparing for a prolonged battle for life.

New Abortion Definition

The new law defines illegal abortion in Mexico City as “the interruption of pregnancy after the twelfth week of pregnancy.” However, the controversial legislation goes further than this. It also includes lightened penalties for women who decide to undergo an abortion after twelve weeks. Public health care facilities will also be required to provide abortion for those who request it, and the Mexico City government will enact programs to promote “sexual health” and “reproductive rights.”

Many analysts believe international pro-abortion groups took advantage of the political climate in Mexico City to promote this new law. Last year, PRD lost the presidential election to the National Action Party (PAN*) by less than 0.5% of the votes. Accusations of fraud lasted several months before PRD voters accepted the results. Since PRD is very strong in Mexico City, its Legislative Assembly was a perfect place for pro-abortion lobbyists to take advantage of PRD’s desire for revenge. President Calderon has expressed his pro-life views many times. Pro-abortion lobbyists planted the abortion issue in the minds of PRD’s representatives.

Pro-Abortionists’ Hope

Of course, pro-abortion groups hope the new law will ultimately lead to the legalization of abortion throughout Mexico. However, the PRD does not dominate the legislatures in every state. Besides, pro-life forces are organizing themselves locally and internationally. Population Research Institute, Latin American Alliance for the Family and many other international pro-life organizations have offered their help since the crisis began and will he supporting Mexicans pro-lifers in this long-run fight.

Mexicans protested

The bishops of Mexico, together with many parents’ organizations, Christian groups and thousands of Mexicans have expressed their opposition to the law. In a statement the spokesman of the Archdiocese of Mexico, Hugo Valdemar, called the anti-life measure “unjust, irresponsible and criminal” and he called for “peaceful protests” and days of prayer tor the unborn.

“We want to tell those who think in an anti-democratic and intolerant way that the Church will not be silent, since she desires to be faithful to her Lord, and she has the prophetic duty of denouncing sin, evil and injustice,” the statement reads.

The vote came despite a majority of Mexicans expressing their opposition to the proposed law in recent months, with thousands signing a petition calling for a referendum on the issue. Debate on the new law ran into the night until it was finally passed by a vote of 49–19. Police officers stood outside to keep protesters away from the assembly building.

Civil Disobedience & Media

Various civil groups in Mexico have announced they will defer to the official reaction of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, expected to come very soon, regarding the legalization of abortion. They anticipate many acts of civil disobedience will take place as a result. A new media campaign in support of life has been launched. According to the newspaper La Jornada, Jose Antonio Fernandez of the organization Dignidad Ciudadana, announced that some 40 organizations “will soon begin a radio and television campaign to warn young people about the risks of the practice of abortion, and they will put in motion a support system for women who are in danger of having abortions.”

Fernandez said that Catholic groups like the Knights of Columbus would unite behind the Archdiocese and its position and would support the National Action Party (PAN) in its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.

Pro-Lifers Intensify Efforts

Likewise, pro-life groups said they would intensify efforts to promote adoption as an alternative to abortion and to support laws that prevent employers from firing pregnant women. The president of the College of Catholic Lawyers, Armando Martinez, told La Jornada that his organization will request the involvement of the Attorney General of Mexico in the legal challenge of the law’s constitutionality.

Jorge Serrano Limon, president of the group Pro-Life, warned of acts of civil disobedience in the Mexican capital.

The Archdiocese of Mexico City’s news office indicated that the archdiocese would not make any public statements about the new law “until the Episcopal Council of the Archdiocese of Mexico has the chance to evaluate the moral consequences of the reforms that have been passed in light of the Gospel and consult with various experts.” An official statement approved by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera is expected to come on Sunday, April 29.

Legality Accepted

According to La Jornada, the National Confraternity of Evangelical Christian Churches said it would respect the decision of the majority in the Mexico City assembly, “whatever it is.” Arturo Farela, president of the organization, said Evangelical churches would accept the legalization of abortion, because they respect Mexican law,” the newspaper reported.

Endnote

1
As they are known by its initials in Spanish.

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