Mexico City Officials Promise Abortions to Continue as Lawsuit Begins

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 30, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mexico City Officials Promise Abortions to Continue as Lawsuit Begins Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 30
, 2007

Mexico City, Mexico ( — While the federal government moves ahead with a lawsuit to overturn the new law allowing all abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, city officials in Mexico’s capital promise that abortions will continue unfettered while the case progresses. The Mexico Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear the case.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party which led the battle for the law, promised that abortions won’t stop just because the lawsuit has been filed.

“Our position is fixed. The health department will go on working,” he told the Associated Press.

Since the law went into effect last month, more than 700 women have either had abortions or scheduled appointments for one.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court Justice Sergio Salvador Aguirre said he thought that the government’s argument that the new abortion law violates the nation’s constitution is a strong one. The Mexico constitution affords legal protection for unborn children and says they have a right to life that can’t be abrogated.

However, Leticia Bonifaz, a legal counselor with the Mexico City government, the The Universal news service that she didn’t think the federal government would prevail. She said reforms to the nation’s constitution when the country dealt with the death penalty would pave the way for keeping legal abortions.

"The reforms eliminated specific references to the phrase ‘right to life’ in Article 3 that cleared the way for the abortion reforms," she said. "We would also argue that the women´s right to decide, especially in cases where the women’s life is at risk, outweigh any potential rights of a fetus."

The high court has agreed to hear the case but has not announced a date for a hearing on the lawsuit.

The federal government also argues that the Mexico City legislative assembly does not have the legal authorization to approve bills on health issues and that such topics are reserved for the national Mexico Congress.

Eight members of the bench must side with the government for the law to be declared unconstitutional.

The National Human Right’s Commission and the Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora are working together on the case. Mora has said the Supreme Court has already sided with the government’s position in previous cases and is hopeful for a favorable ruling this time.

The legislative assembly of Mexico’s capital is controlled by pro-abortion leftist lawmakers who voted to legalize abortions. But abortion is illegal in the rest of the nation as the Mexico Congress would not likely vote for legal abortions nationwide.

The law put Mexico City on par with Cuba and Guyana and the American territory of Puerto Rico as the only places in Latin America and the Caribbean where abortions are legal.

The Democratic Revolutionary Party, whose members approved the law, called on supporters to block federal government offices later this week to protest the lawsuit.

Pro-life advocates are continuing their campaign to get physicians to object to doing abortions, and making it more difficult to get one. Jorge Serrano Limon of the National Pro-Life Committee told the Los Angeles Times that 94 doctors have agreed so far to abstain from being involved in abortions.

"There are very serious pressures being placed on doctors to perform abortions," he told the newspaper.

Other pro-life advocates are camped outside health clinics and are passing out literature or plastic dolls representing unborn children to persuade women not to have an abortion.