Mexico Supreme Court Begins to Tackle Mexico City Abortion Lawsuit

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 3, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mexico Supreme Court Begins to Tackle Mexico City Abortion Lawsuit Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 3,

Mexico City, Mexico ( — The Mexico Supreme Court is beginning to delve into a landmark legal battle over a new law in the nation’s capital allowing all abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The court agreed to hear a lawsuit filed in May by the federal government and pro-life groups challenging the law.

The legislative assembly of Mexico City voted to approve the new abortion law but the nation’s government argues that the assembly does not have the legal authorization to approve bills on health issues.

It says such topics are reserved for the national Mexico Congress.

After the lawsuit was filed, 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.

Since then, the high court assigned Justice Aguirre the task of developing the legal opinion for the court as to whether the abortion law is constitutional.

To carry out that objective, Justice Aguirre has put together a team of five renowned scientists and researchers and asked them a myriad of questions about when life begins and whether the unborn child can be considered a human being under law.

According to a report in the California Catholic newspaper, "The judge’s questions appear to be an attempt to illustrate, by analogy, that human dignity does not depend on health, age, dependent status, or the state of one’s mental or physical capacities, but is above all these circumstances and deserves absolute respect and protection."

Dr. Enrique Pedernera, chief of UNAM’s embryology department, has criticized the Supreme Court justice saying the panel he picked is stacked and will lead to a pro-life decision.

"With these questions he intends to demonstrate that at the moment of conception an independent and unique human being is generated," Pedernera said.

There is legal precedent for such as decision, however, as the Mexico Supreme Court ruled in 2002, with Justice Aguirre voting in the majority, that the Mexican constitution protects human life “from conception.”

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.

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

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.

As of May, since the law went into effect, more than 700 women have either had abortions or scheduled appointments for one.