Mexico City Legislature Approves Bill Legalizing Abortion, Lawsuit Likely

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 24, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mexico City Legislature Approves Bill Legalizing Abortion, Lawsuit Likely Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 24
, 2007

Mexico City, Mexico ( — The legislature of Mexico’s capital city has approved a bill that would legalize abortion within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. While legal abortions in very limited cases such as rape and incest occur in various parts of the country, Mexico largely prohibits abortions — and the measure is the first step in overturning those laws.

Aided by abortion advocates in the United States, members of the left-wing political party have also proposed a bill in the Mexico Congress to legalize abortion.

They hope to use that as a tool to legalize abortion not only in Mexico but in other Latin American and Caribbean nations, most of whom protect the right to life of unborn children.

However, that legislation isn’t expected to be approved and President Felipe Calderon would likely veto it.

In the city’s legislative assembly, lawmakers voted 46 to 19 to legalize abortion with one abstention.

The mayor of Mexico City is expected to sign the bill into law, and pro-life advocates are concerned that, while unborn children would be protected elsewhere in the country, Mexicans could flock to the nation’s capital city for abortions.

The bill also forces government-financed health clinics to do abortions if low-income women ask for them and be paid under the city’s health insurance plan, putting an additional financial strain on it.

Even if the mayor signs the measure, Armando Martinez, president of the College of Catholic Lawyers, plans to pursue a lawsuit against it and take it to the nation’s Supreme Court if necessary. He says the bill contradicts the Mexican Constitution, which guarantees the right to life of all people.

Mariana Gómez del Campo, the PAN leader in the city’s legislature, said the political party would support such a lawsuit in the event any bill to legalize abortion is approved.

The decision to approve the abortion bill goes against the wishes of a majority of Mexicans.

The polling firm Parametría surveyed 1,200 Mexican adults from March 24 to 27.

It found that 51.3 percent of those polled opposed legalizing abortion while only 30 percent of Mexicans favor legalizing abortion. The rest are undecided.

The polling firm Consulta Mitofsky conducted a previous survey in January and released the results of the poll last month. It showed similar results as 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 numbers are important because the PRD party is behind both abortion bills.

While the Mexico City measure may pass, PAN President Felipe Calderon is expected to veto the congressional measure.

“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.

Jorge Serrano Limon, the head of the anti-abortion group Provida, told the Christian Science Monitor he’s concerned that if abortion is legalized that euthanasia will be next.

"Today it’s abortion; tomorrow it’s euthanasia," he says. "It will be a chain that denigrates Mexican society."

Meanwhile, Marcelino Hernandez, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mexico, has warned legislators that if they vote for the proposed bill, they would be excommunicated upon the first abortion.

Related web sites:
Comite Nacional Pro Vida –