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Mexico's abortion
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-04-27 10:17:15
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You cannot ignore what happened in Mexico City lately. After long debates where the Roman-Catholic church, even the Pope himself, played a major role, the city’s lawmakers voted to legalize abortion. The abortion-right group emphasized that this might be a start for a new trend across Mexico and the other South American states as well.

Only Cuba and Guyana permit women to have abortions on demand in their first three months; Nicaragua, El Salvador and Chile have totally banned it, while most of the other states allow it only in cases of rape or when the woman’s life is in danger. It has been some months since I wrote another article about abortion and I brought four examples known to me of women forced to have an abortion.

My opinion is that from the minute a woman has taken the decision nothing can stop her, furthermore, not even a law. If laws could stop what is illegal then we most likely would not need abortion either. But we don’t live in a society of angels, neither in a society that offers and covers all your needs. I'd much rather legalize something that in its illegal version is seriously dangerous for the life of hundreds, if not thousands, of women.

The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico was the loudest opposition to the decision but the Roman Catholic Church has lost any credibility over the last decades. On one side they are involved in financial scandals and on the other in sex scandals that show nothing of the Holy Spirit, especially when they include the boys from the choir. At the very same time the Vatican forbids the use of any protection, such as condoms, while nations in Africa die from HIV AIDS ignoring even the local representatives of the church that beg for an understanding.

The church really pushed the limits of the Mexican institutional ban on political activities by religious groups when Cardinal Norberto Rivera led a protest march through the capital in March. Oddly, the leader of the Catholic lawyers Armando Martinez said that this is a step backwards for democracy and he didn’t feel embarrassed to say so while nearly 40% of the Mexican population lives on the limits of poverty and the Catholic Church has long supported, both actively and in the background, conservative and nationalistic parties that led the country to that situation with crime and corruption.

The bill was approved 46-19 with one abstention and will take effect with the expected signing from the city’s mayor. 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 parents’ permission.

Nationally, Mexico allows abortion only in cases of rape, severe birth defects or if the woman's life is at risk. But doctors – especially ones devoted to the Catholic Church have sometimes refused to perform the procedure even under those circumstances which shows the influence of the church even when it comes to endangering another life.

Perhaps the biggest fear and it has mainly arisen from the opposition is that after this many women, not only form Mexico but from other countries, will visit Mexico City creating a new industry which is not necessarily ethical. I think that’s the main problem and somehow it has more to do with how the state - in this case the city – forces the law and protects its citizens than with the women’s right in abortion.

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