by Steven Ertelt
June 9, 2006
Mexico City, Mexico (LifeNews.com) — Pro-abortion groups in Mexico are complaining that the Catholic Church is inappropriately meddling in the nation’s upcoming elections by unduly influencing voters in favor of a candidate who takes a clear pro-life stance on abortion.
The groups say the Catholic Church held workshops and other forums that it maintains illegally interfered in the upcoming July 2 national election.
They say Catholic officials are taking advantage of their relationship with Vicente Fox and his National Action Party (PAN) to promote PAN presidential candidate Felipe Calderon.
"The risk of the Catholic hierarchy influencing votes has been greater in these federal elections than in others due to its closeness to the federal executive," Guadalupe Cruz, speaking for six pro-abortion groups, told Reuters.
"The main risk is with the PAN," Cruz said because Fox’s party has deep roots in Catholicism and Calderon comes from a devoutly Catholic family.
Cruz told Reuters the groups accuse church leaders of backing candidates who fit a certain ideological profile on issues like abortion. He claimed the church is taking advantage of voters in rural and indigenous areas where the government may be less inclined to enforce laws prohibiting church involvement in elections.
"Those factors increase the risk of influencing votes in favor of the PAN," Cruz claimed. "But the PAN is not the party of Catholics, Calderon is not the Catholics’ candidate."
The Mexican Catholic Church held meetings earlier this year with the candidates for president and urged them to speak out on issues of morality like abortion. The church has said the forums and workshops it has conducted have been in an effort to inform voters where the candidates stand on key issues.
Calderon is considered the most pro-life candidate in the race and wants to keep the nation’s pro-life laws. He has said in previous interviews that he opposing distributing the morning after pill, which can sometimes cause an abortion.
"On the subject of abortion, I am pro-life, and I also see that it is a matter clearly regulated by law, and most of all in judicial terms well settled," he told Knight Ridder news.
Calderon uses Scripture in his speeches and presses his party’s pro-life views on the stump — which is credited with helping him win his party’s nomination.
The three leading candidates for president in Mexico are running to succeed Fox, who was the first person outside the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in more than 70 years.
Calderon faces PRI candidate Roberto Madrazo, who is so closely identified to the corruption in Mexico that he doesn’t use his last name or party affiliation in television commercials, and Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) who is a self-described Socialist and the former mayor of Mexico City.
Calderon and Obrador have been leading in the polls.
PRD has come under fire from pro-life groups for attempting to make abortion legal. The party sponsored a bill in the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City to allow abortions in cases of supposed threats to the mother’s health from the pregnancy.
Abortion is illegal in this nation where about 85 percent of the residents are Catholic.
A woman considering an abortion must have been a victim of rape or incest, must be in danger of losing her life because of the pregnancy, or her unborn child must have severe physical deformities.
Related web sites:
Comite Nacional Pro Vida – https://www.comiteprovida.org