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Mexico City lawmakers pass abortion bill

 
 
fbaezer
 
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 07:29 pm
Mexico City lawmakers pass abortion bill

By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 2 minutes ago

MEXICO CITY - Mexico City lawmakers voted to legalize abortion Tuesday,a decision likely to influence policies and health practices across Mexico and other parts of heavily Roman Catholic Latin America.


The proposal, approved 46-19, with one abstention, will take effect with the expected signing by the city's leftist mayor. Abortion opponents have already vowed to appeal the law to the Supreme Court, a move likely to extend the bitter and emotional debate in this predominantly Catholic nation.

"Decriminalizing abortion is a historic triumph, a triumph of the left," said city legislator Jorge Diaz Cuervo, a social democrat who voted for the bill. "Today, there is a new atmosphere in this city. It is the atmosphere of freedom."

Nationally, Mexico allows abortion only in cases of rape, severe birth defects or if the woman's life is at risk. Doctors sometimes refuse to perform the procedure even under those circumstances.

The new law will require city hospitals to provide the procedure in the first trimester and opens the way for private abortion clinics. Girls under 18 would have to get their parents' consent.

The procedure will be almost free for poor or insured city residents, but is unlikely to attract patients from the United States, where later-term abortion is legal in many states. Under the Mexico City law, abortion after 12 weeks would be punished by three to six months in jail.

Mexico City is dominated by the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, at odds with President Felipe Calderon's conservative National Action Party, which opposed the abortion measure.

"We go to great lengths to protect (sea) turtle eggs," said city lawmaker Paula Soto, a member of Calderon's party. "Lucky turtles! It appears they have more people willing to defend them than some unborn children."

The law alarmed Calderon's party and prompted authorities to send ranks of riot police to separate chanting throngs of opposing demonstrators outside the city legislature.

"We want this law, because it means the right to choose," said Alma Romo, who described herself as a feminist. "Unfortunately, there are some people who do not want to grant us that right."

The only countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with legalized abortion for all women are Cuba and Guyana. Most others allow it only in cases of rape or when the woman's life is at risk. Nicaragua,
El Salvador and Chile ban it completely.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, the legal arm of the reproductive rights movement globally, applauded the Mexico City law as "historic."

"This will serve as a model to get abortion accepted not only nationwide, but also in Latin America and the Caribbean, where women who interrupt their pregnancies are still sent to jail," said activist Elba Garcia, 24, who rode a flatbed truck in an abortion rights caravan through downtown Mexico City on Monday.

Recent newspaper polls showed that a majority of Mexico City residents support legalized abortions, at least in the first weeks of pregnancy.

The proposal has created an emotional confrontation in a country where the majority of people are Roman Catholic.

Calderon has opposed the proposal, and church leaders have led protests that pushed the limits of Mexico's constitutional ban on political activity by religious groups.

Opponents argue that life begins at conception and say the law would violate the Mexican Constitution's protection of individual rights. Supporters say the law would save the lives of thousands of women.

The city and its suburbs are home to about one-fifth of the country's population, and many Mexicans travel to the capital for medical treatment. Opponents fear the local law could attract women across Mexico seeking abortions.

An estimated 200,000 women have illegal abortions each year in Mexico, based on the number who show up at hospitals later seeking treatment for complications, said Martha Micher, director of the Mexico City government's Women's Institute.

Botched abortions using herbal remedies, black-market medications and quasi-medical procedures kill about 1,500 women each year and are the third-leading cause of death for pregnant women in the capital, Micher said.

Very Happy
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 08:03 pm
Good news.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 08:05 pm
listening...
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  2  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 08:14 pm
I'm personally thrilled.

I have campaigned for this many times in the media (once, being the spearhead), since more than 25 years ago.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  1  
Reply Tue 24 Apr, 2007 08:32 pm
I'm surprised, but happy women will now have access to safe, legal abortions in such a Catholic controlled country. Making abortions illegal doesn't save lives, it just makes rich women go on vacation to countries where abortion is legal and poor women to seek dangerous ways to end pregnancies often at the expense of their lives. The best way to end abortion is for people to have access to affordable birth control and education.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2007 12:16 am
Quote:
Recent newspaper polls showed that a majority of Mexico City residents support legalized abortions, at least in the first weeks of pregnancy.


I wonder if the Mexico City polls reflect the opinion of the nation in general, or is Mexico City more liberal than the rest of the nation in regard to abortion issues?
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  3  
Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2007 01:09 pm
InfraBlue wrote:
Quote:
Recent newspaper polls showed that a majority of Mexico City residents support legalized abortions, at least in the first weeks of pregnancy.


I wonder if the Mexico City polls reflect the opinion of the nation in general, or is Mexico City more liberal than the rest of the nation in regard to abortion issues?


First, I'll answer directly:
Yes, Mexico City is more liberal than the rest of the country in regard to practically anything.
For example, only here and in (Northern State) Coahuila gay unions are legalized. Gays kiss in the subway, and no one makes a fuss.

Now, something more elaborate:
Mexicans are more liberal that the stereotype.
According to world polls, the USA is closer to Mexico in these matters than to Europe, and Mexico is the more "post-modern" Latin American country. That is, in average we are more liberal than Chileans, Brazilians or Argentinians.

And, much like the USA, there is a divide between the liberal cities and conservative small towns.
For example, regarding abortion, the latest poll shows the country divided virtually by halves: 49% "pro-choice"; 48.5% "pro-life". The urban, the young, the richer (or less poor) and the educated (starting 9th grade graduates) are "pro-choice".

The Catholic influence is important, but the XIX Century liberal influence is paramount.
Mexican history, as an independent nation, has been, most of the time, a struggle between liberals and Catholics (as former President José María Luis Mora put it in 1832, "between the party of progress and the party of backwardness").
The separation of church and State was determined since the Constitution of 1857, church assets were nationalized by the greatest Mexican president ever, Benito Juárez (the Church supported the French invasion and Emperor Maximilian), and the Mexican revolution in the early XX Century certainly had a strong anti-Catholic component.
In the 20s, there was the Cristero War: the Catholic Church moved fanatics to oppose land distribution and the literacy campaign. Several priests became warlords. President elect Obregón was shot and killed by a Catholic fanatic in 1924, and there was a brief period in which churches were shut down in several parts of the country.
Mexico did not recognize the Holy See until 1992, and law orders "Religious Groupings" to stay out of politics. In fact, the Secretary of Governance, much to his regret, has had to admonish Cardenal Rivera -the head of Mexican Catholic church- for talking about political parties, during the discussion on abortion.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2007 01:21 pm
fbaezer wrote:
I'm personally thrilled.

I have campaigned for this many times in the media (once, being the spearhead), since more than 25 years ago.


Quite a victory, and it looks like you had a significant part in it. Good going!
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2007 07:43 pm
fbaezer wrote:
I'm personally thrilled.

I have campaigned for this many times in the media (once, being the spearhead), since more than 25 years ago.


You did good.


I was reading that, in Brazil, the leading cause of death for young women was botched illegal abortions. (Prior to their changing their legislation).


Was the previous law as damaging in Mexico?
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2007 08:05 pm
dlowan wrote:

Was the previous law as damaging in Mexico?


It varies from state to state, but in the most part of them abortion is only possible if the woman was raped; some states allow abortions also if pregnancy endargers severely the woman's health; Yucatán also allows it if the woman is very poor.
In 2000, Guanajuato State (PAN controlled and very Catholic) tried to pass a totally restrictive law, but the (also PAN) governor vetoed it, after the reaction of the so-called "national" (really Mexico City) press. Smile

Mexico City had originally the "rape only" law. In 2000, the "Robles Law" also allowed abortions in case of a severe danger to the woman's health or malformation of the embryo.
Now it's totally the woman's decision, in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

It's an important step, because of the domino effect.
About half of the Metropolitan Area is in another state... and over there the clandestine abortions business will suffer... many private clinics will want to perform openly what they do in the shade...


Latin America is very backwards on this issue.
There are countries -Chile, El Salvador- where abortion is illegal even after rape. Nicaragua's "leftist" president Ortega illegalized rape abortions, since he was cahoots with the Catholic bishop Obando in his campaign (tit for tat).
I just hope this changes the shift.
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Apr, 2007 08:23 pm
(johnboy, who only knows fbaezer from some very trivial A2K threads, quietly gives a thumb's up)
fbaezer
 
  5  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 11:41 am
This add-on, only to say that a few days ago, the [Mexican] Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Mexico City's abortion law, thus setting a precedent for future State legislation.
Good news.
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 12:54 pm
@realjohnboy,
on Thu 26 Apr, 2007 a poster practicing prescient prestidigitation wrote:

(johnboy, who only knows fbaezer from some very trivial A2K threads, quietly gives a thumb's up)
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 08:56 pm
@fbaezer,
Well done.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Sep, 2008 09:42 pm
@dlowan,
Click.

Rjb, slow hand.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Dec, 2011 05:15 pm
Congratulations, Fbaezer. In some respects Mexico, the land of my parents, is ahead of the U.S. Thank you very much for your part in it.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Dec, 2011 05:30 pm
@JLNobody,
Yes, bravo, Mexico.
I wonder how things have progressed since 2008.
fbaezer
 
  2  
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2011 10:40 am
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:

Yes, bravo, Mexico.
I wonder how things have progressed since 2008.




Legally, not much, outside Mexico City (where gay marriages, not just civil unions, are legal now).
The Supreme Court voted 7-4 this year to declare unconstitutional a law in Baja California that declares that life starts at conception.

0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2011 01:18 pm
In Mexico there's a show on Televisa, a decidedly conservative Mexican broadcasting corporation, La Rosa de Guadalupe, "The Rose of Guadalupe," (Guadalupe referring to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Catholic Church's patron saint of Mexico and all of the Americas) that presents morality vignettes in accordance with Catholic canon.

Abortion, as can be expected, is a recurring topic, and all of the scenarios are resolved with the protagonists, all of whom are barely pubescent girls, deciding to forgo abortion and adoption in favor of keeping and raising their babies for themselves.

I suspect that this show, which has been running since 2008, is a reaction by conservatives to the liberal trend that Mexico has been following.
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Mon 26 Dec, 2011 02:21 pm
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:

I (Guadalupe referring to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Catholic Church's patron saint of Mexico and all of the Americas)

I did not know that. Canada's patron saint is St. Joseph, so I guess we have two...


By the by, fbaezer, congrats on your hard won victory. This is good news for the women of Mexico.
0 Replies
 
 

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