Mexico City Lawmakers Begin Hearings on Bill to Legalize Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 29, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mexico City Lawmakers Begin Hearings on Bill to Legalize Abortion Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 29
, 2007

Mexico City, Mexico ( — Elected officials in the legislature of Mexico City began a debate on Wednesday on a measure that would legalize abortions in the nation’s heavily populated capital. Pro-abortion lawmakers have also filed a bill in the lower house of the Mexico Congress that would make abortion legal as well.

However, the Mexico City bill is seen as more likely to pass because left-wing parties control its legislature and the mayor’s office.

Should abortion be legalized, Mexicans could flock to the capital from around the country in a phenomenon that could also attract citizens of the many other Latin American nations where abortions aren’t legal.

Cuba, Guyana and Puerto Rico are the only places where abortion is legal in an unlimited fashion although some other nations allow it in very rare circumstances.

A vote in the city’s Legislative Assembly is not expected until mid-April and pro-life groups and the Catholic Church are engaging in a heavy educational campaign until then to try to defeat the bill.

According to an LA Times report, during the first hearing on the bill, Yolanda Peña, an attorney, told lawmakers that "There’s a lot of talk here about human rights, but I find it strange that people aren’t talking about the human right par excellence, which is the right to life."

But Maria Alejandra Nuño Ruiz, a member of the city’s Human Rights Commission, said abortion should be legalized because so many illegal abortions are occurring, the Times reported.

Mexico has the second largest Catholic population anywhere in the world and a defeat there would be a blow to the pro-life movement and could lead to the toppling of pro-life laws found in virtually all of the Central and South American nations.

As a result, Vatican Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo arrived last week in Mexico to help lead pro-life efforts by organizing events and rallying both pro-life advocates and lawmakers against the legalization proposal.

Polls show most Mexicans are pro-life and don’t want abortion and a January poll sponsored by the polling firm Consulta Mitofsky found only 32.1 percent of those polled said they agreed with abortion.

Breaking the results down by political party, only 30 percent of people who side with the conservative National Action Party (PAN) agree with abortion while just 28.7 percent of those who identify themselves as members of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) back abortion.

The Mexico City bill is seen as more likely to pass and PAN President Felipe Calderon is expected to veto the congressional measure.

Calderon recently reiterated his opposition to abortion, according to an AP report.

“I have a personal conviction, and I am in defense of life,” he told a news conference. “I have a plain respect for dignity and human life and within this I believe the existing legislation is adequate.”

The bill also would mandate that government-financed health clinics do abortions if low-income women ask for them.

Mexico City currently allows abortions in cases of rape or incest and when the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother while the rest of the nation only allows abortions in cases of sexual abuse.

Should the measure pass, Jorge Serrano Limon of the Pro-Life National Committee said he would organize an effort of doctors and nurses against refusing to do or assist in abortions.

"Unfortunately, there will always be killer doctors who lend themselves to these operations," he told the Times. "But we’re sure the majority will be with us because not everyone has a criminal mentality."

In the Mexico City legislature, Serrano Limón said that 40 city legislators support the abortion proposal and 21 are opposed, which means his group needs to persuade many change their position.

Related web sites:
Comite Nacional Pro Vida –