Laws regarding abortion access
Abortion laws in Mexico City, Mexico
Marginally related note:
Ironically, the U.S. has a guideline called the "Mexico
City policy. It prohibits financial aid to international family planning
organizations if they provide abortion counseling, or provide abortions, or
which advocated abortion access in even one country.
The population of Mexico City and suburbs is about
18 million; the population of Mexico is about 105 million. The country is
nominally 90% Roman Catholic. Against overwhelming opposition from
the Roman Catholic Church, lawmakers in Mexico City created a law on 2007-APR-24
abortions on request for pregnant women in their first trimester: -- i.e. less than 12
weeks from conception -- if having the child "... would negatively affect their
life project." Women who are near the first trimester limit will be
given abortions immediately; those whose pregnancies are less advanced will
have to wait until after the rules are formally published.
Whether a person regards this development as a
major victory for women, or as a tragic murder of hundreds of thousands of pre-born children
largely on when the individual believes that human life becomes a human
person. Almost everyone regards ova and spermatozoon as living entities containing human DNA, and thus being two forms of human life. But there is
no consensus on when this human life becomes a human
person whose life should be protected.
Status of abortion in Mexico, Central America, and South America:
"A study by the National Autonomous University of Mexico estimates
there are half a million to 1 million illegal abortions a year - in doctor's
offices for those who can afford it, and through self-induced wounds or
toxic teas for those who cannot." 1
It is generally acknowledged that more than 2,000 die annually from the
procedure. Before the bill was passed, abortions in Mexico city were only
available when the woman's life was endangered by the pregnancy. In
the rest of Mexico, abortion was only permitted in case of rape. Many women
crossed the border into the U.S. and had their abortions in Dallas or Houston,
"Alejandra Garrido, a member of the anti-abortion group Young Citizens
for Dignity, 23, said Mexico City's law will draw young women from all
over the country and pressure more states to allow abortion on demand. Young
women are going to come ... [to Mexico City] to get abortions, which is logical, and then more
and more states are going to consider something similar. We are against
abortion because we believe the right to life is a fundamental human right."
The Feminist Majority Foundation reported that:
||Assembly Leader Victor Hugo Cirigo said of the new bill: "No church,
no religion can impose its vision of the world in this city."
||His Party of the Democratic Revolution occupies 34 of the city's 66
||Although Mexico's President Felipe Calderon is Catholic, Mexico City has
been governed with a "more liberal stance toward religion" since
Across South America, according to the United Nations, four million women
have illegal abortions annually. As of 2007-APR, abortion is legal only in three countries: Barbados, Cuba,
and Guyana. However, Colombia and Uruguay are considering changes to their legal
prohibitions of abortion. Cardinal Rubiano, the Archbishop of Bogota, Colombia,
has asked Christians to pray that abortion will not be legalized in his country.
"The loss of Colombia will substantially weaken the pro-life fabric of
all Latin America. What begins as a small hole will end as a huge tear
allowing much evil to come in." 3
In advance of the change in the law:
Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter on APR-20 to to the bishops of
"In this Easter period, we are celebrating the triumph of
life. ... I exhort you to protect this great gift firmly, the right to life
of everyone from the first instant of conception, in the face of whatever
opponents from the culture of death." 3
On 2007-APR-21, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the head of
the Pontifical Council for the Family and its top anti-abortion campaigner,
arrived in Mexico to try to change the politicians' voting intentions.
On 2007-APR-24, the Mexico City legislative assembly voted 46 to 19, with one
abstention, to legalize abortions during the first trimester of
pregnancy. This followed "seven hours of tense debate over the question of who
has more rights - a woman or fetus." 4
The law had specified a one to three year jail sentence for all women who have
an abortion. The clause now applies for second and third trimester abortions
Most of the opposition to the liberalization of the abortion law came from
the Roman Catholic Church.
||The National Action Party, which supports the stance of the Roman
Catholic Church has vowed to appeal the law to the Supreme Court in the hope
that it will be declared unconstitutional.
||Archbishop Angelo Amato, the second most important authority on doctrine
in the Roman Curia, said that abortion was as "repugnant" as "terrorism."
||Under the laws of the church, anyone obtaining or performing an abortion
is automatically excommunicated.
Reactions to the new law:
||Jorge Serrano, leader of the pro-life group Comité Pro Vida said
"The decriminalization that has been approved is a disgrace but we
have not lost the battle. We will not recognize this law and we will go
the the clinics and hospitals where abortions are practiced to denounce
them and try to keep them from carrying them out." 4
||An unnamed source in the Vatican said: "There is still time to change
the situation, we can hope for a court ruling." Other sources said that
there was a mood of disappointment and a deep fear that the rest of Mexico
and other Latin American countries might follow the example of Mexico City. 5
||The church is circulating a petition to require a public referendum on
the issue. They have collected 70,000 signatures to date.
||Gabriela Cruz, a pro-choice demonstrator, said: "I feel happy, because
this is a step forward, not backward, for a woman's right and freedom to
choose ... about her body and her life." 4
||Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, the Archbishop of Mexico, has
expressed the belief that the law is unconstitutional.
During Sunday Mass, referring to the bill's
supporters, he said:
"They say it's a problem of a woman's right
over her body, and they put to one side the right of aborted boys and
girls over their bodies. ... Laws, whatever they are, are intended to
respect life. A law that does not is ungodly."
||Raffaela Schiavon, executive director of
Ipas Mexico, a pro-choice group, said: "This is an important victory for
women's health and rights, but it is only the beginning."
||Aurora Tinajero, director of Spanish Ministry
for the Pro-Life Committee of North Texas (a.k.a Respect Life
Ministry for the Diocese of Dallas) said: "The bottom line is abortion is
killing, abortion is murder. ... It is very troubling for Catholics of
Mexican descent to look south and see this is happening."
||Jorge Serrano Limon, head of the National
Pro-Life Committee said:
"We are seeing social decomposition,
unfortunately, and attacks on family values. Abortion is a crime, as is
the sexual lewdness we are seeing on TV, along with civil unions [for same-sex
The following information sources were used to prepare the above report in
the year 2007, and update it since. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Laurence Iliff, "Proposed law to legalize abortion roils Mexico City,"
"Mexico City Moves to Liberalize Abortion Laws," Feminist Majority
Foundation, 2007-MAR-14, at:
Malcolm Moore and Jerry McDermott. "Mexico City legalises
abortion," Telegraph.co.uk, 2007-APR-27, at:
"Mexico City passes abortion law," The Unapologetic Mexican,
Malcolm Moore in Rome and Jerry McDermott, "Catholics to appeal
Mexico City's abortion law," Telegraph.co.uk, 2007-APR-27, at:
Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-APR-27
Latest update: 2007-APR-27
Author: B.A. Robinson