by Steven Ertelt
April 5, 2007
Mexico City, Mexico (LifeNews.com) — A leading Catholic official in Mexico said Wednesday that any lawmakers in the capital city’s legislature that vote for a bill to legalize abortion there will be excommunicated when the first legal abortion is done. Both the city’s legislature and the Mexican Congress are considering bills to allow abortions.
Bishop Marcelino Hernandez said the Church would not hold a ceremony or use any official procedure to kick the legislators out but explained that they would be essentially voting to remove themselves.
"The person excommunicates himself, it’s not that the Church goes around with a rod, looking for people who make mistakes, in order to hit them on the head," Hernandez told reporters in a press conference, according to an AP report.
Hernandez restated the Catholic position against abortion and joined leaders of Orthodox and some evangelical Protestant churches in condemning the bills to legalize abortion.
Members of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), which holds the second largest bloc of lawmakers in Congress and the largest in the Mexico City legislature, are behind the bills.
The Congressional bill may not pass but the one in the capital looks likely to move forward. Should abortion be legalized there, 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.
The bill also would mandate that government-financed health clinics do abortions if low-income women ask for them.
Polls show a majority of Mexicans oppose abortion and a survey released in March from 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.
President Felipe Calderon, a PAN member, has said he does not favor legalizing abortion and would likely veto a bill to do so.
“I have a personal conviction, and I am in defense of life,” he told a news conference last month. “I have a plain respect for dignity and human life and within this I believe the existing legislation is adequate.”
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.
Cuba, Guyana and Puerto Rico are the only places in Central and South America 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.
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."
Related web sites:
Comite Nacional Pro Vida – https://www.comiteprovida.org