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Second Mexican ruling denies rights to unborn

Mexican Supreme Court


John Burger - published on 09/13/21

Two days after decriminalizing abortion, supreme court takes aim at state constitutional provision protecting nascent life.

A followup to the Mexican Supreme Court ruling decriminalizing abortion throughout the country also invalidated a clause in a state constitution that provided protection of life “from the moment in which an individual is conceived … until their death.”

The high court, in a September 9 decision, argued that no state government could determine when life begins. Only the federal constitution can determine that, it said.

The court ruling denied any legal rights to the unborn, saying, “For the court, it is inadmissible to establish that the embryo and fetus deserve the same legal protection as born persons.”

“Although the product of pregnancy deserves protection that increases over time as the pregnancy progresses, this protection cannot ignore the rights of women and pregnant people to reproductive freedom and, in particular, their right to interrupt the pregnancy in certain cases,” the court stated in a decision concerning Sinaloa state. 

Two days earlier, a unanimous ruling invalidated sections of a law in northern Coahuila state that had imposed prison sentences of up to three years for women having an abortion and removed criminal sanctions for those who perform the procedure.

In a statement issued prior to the ruling, the Mexican Bishops’ Conference said they wished to recall that “the human person, child of a father and a mother, whose life begins at the moment of conception, must be recognized in its dignity in all stages of its life, and deserves the same protection of the law in the face of actions against its integrity.”

In a September 8 statement, the bishops’s conference agreed that prison is not a solution to the “problems faced by women who have an abortion and rather can lead to their re-victimization.”

But they warned that the “reasoning used is based on parameters of interpretation that — under the appearance of progressivity — translates into ‘constitutionalizing of the right to choose.’”

The bishops also called for “a renewed commitment … to guarantee the protection of women in all circumstances, gestating or not, while respecting the human right to life, both of the mother along with the conceived not yet born.”

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman reported at Catholic World Report that it’s unclear if the court will eliminate the right of health care providers to opt out of providing abortions on conscience grounds. That issue is also before the court.

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