Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mexico City legalises abortion

Mexico City legalises abortion
© Reuters Limited
April 25, 01:19

Mexico’s capital legalised abortion on Tuesday, defying the church but delighting feminists in the world’s second-largest Roman Catholic country.

Mexico City lawmakers voted 46 to 19 to pass a leftist-sponsored bill allowing women to abort in the first three months of pregnancy.

The vote split Mexico and prompted a letter last week from Pope Benedict urging Mexican bishops to oppose abortion.

Riot police kept rival groups of rowdy demonstrators apart outside the city’s assembly building. Weeping anti-abortion protesters played tape recordings of babies crying and carried tiny white coffins.

“We did it,” pro-abortion campaigners chanted after the vote.

The ban will remain in force in the rest of the country and anti-abortion campaigners are likely to challenge Mexico City’s abortion law in the Supreme Court.

Only Cuba, Guyana and US commonwealth Puerto Rico allow abortion on demand in Latin America. Many other countries in the region permit it in special cases, including after rape, if the fetus has defects or if the mother’s life is at risk.

Leftist deputy Enrique Perez Correa said Mexico was more liberal than its macho image portrayed.

“It appeared to be a conservative country ruled by the Church. We have now shown that is not the case,” he said.

Church leaders threatened to excommunicate leftist deputies, mostly from the Party of the Democratic Revolution, who voted in favour of lifting the abortion ban.

“They will get the penalty of excommunication. That is not revenge, it is just what happens in the case of serious sins,” said Felipe Aguirre Franco, the archbishop of Acapulco.


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