For those of us who are convinced of the intrinsic value of human life from conception, the present political and social scene in Mexico on the issue of abortion can best be described as “we are pro-life…sort of.”
Majority of Mexicans Remain Pro-Life
Given that earlier this month marked the first leftist government’s “International Day of Women” on March 8, 2019, intense efforts to legalize abortion were expected by those both pro- and anti-abortion. Nonetheless, President Andres Lopez-Obrador, a member of the National Regeneration Movement Party, stated that day, “There should not be a debate on abortion, given that there are many problems that require our primary attention.” In hindsight, this was perhaps to be expected, since he had made similar comments when serving as the chief government leader in Mexico City’s Federal District (2000-2005). In doing so, Lopez-Obrador stepped on the brakes with regard to both abortion and same-sex unions, averting these changes from happening and becoming embedded in the laws of Mexico City. However, he also said at the same time this month, “If a disagreement over abortion continues, then there will a public consultation on abortion.”
All of the above suggests that a democratic referendum on abortion in Mexico could yet take place. Interestingly enough, that prospect has been rejected outright by pro-abortion groups. Why? Because according to Parametria, a major Mexican polling company, the majority of the Mexican population continues to support the sanctity of human life and supports the penalization of abortion.
Yet, who else but those favoring abortion would be interested in raising the issue of legalization of abortion in Mexico? Since the president is not interested in ‘making a big fuss,’ that implies he wants abortion to remain a crime. So as such, the concept remains a red flag and pro-lifers stand on guard.
Pro-Abortion Side Fails Repeatedly to Muster Support
Last October, two attempts were made to exert legislative pressure in favor of abortion, one by Representative Lorena Villavicencio of the National Regeneration Movement Party, and the other by Senator Juan Zepeda-Hernandez of the Revolutionary Democratic Party. Both failed, due to a lack of support from their parties who hold the political majority in the Chamber of Representatives and the Chamber of Senators in Mexico. One cannot therefore assume that even all Mexican leftist parties prioritizing abortion as an issue at the present time.
The anti-life drive seen on March 8 did not come from the high spheres of the executive and legislative national branches of government, but rather from legislators of the Mexico City Federal District, the only government establishment where abortion was partially legalized in 2007. March 15 some of these legislators demanded both Federal District chambers legalize abortion. In an attempt to capture public opinion, pro-abortion feminists now argue they hold a “pro-life” position because they defend the woman and want to prevent maternal deaths of women from unsafe abortions, as well as the incarceration or criminalization of women for the crime of abortion. Needless to say, this is not a new argument globally and no mention is made of the death of the unborn that would occur in this process.
The argument is so weak, it is easy to show that maternal deaths have not diminished at all in the Federal District, even though abortion is legal there since 2017. Additionally, it has been shown that it is women who have murdered their children after birth who are the ones being justly incarcerated. (The crime of abortion is typified in the criminal code in a different manner from those types of infanticide cases.)
So, for now, the issue of legalizing abortion is off the table. Representative Mario Delgado-Carrillo, majority leader of the National Regeneration Movement Party in the Chamber of Representatives, has said abortion will be discussed as part of the agenda at the next legislative ordinary session, with priority given first to issues related to the economy, labor, and education. Interpreted that means that though said legislative session begins in late 2019, abortion would not come up until early 2020.
Keeping Mexico Safe for All
So Mexico is still a country which constitutionally stands for life, for now. There is a threat to the pro-life movement, and with so much to lose if abortion were legalized, the steps must be carefully monitored, as if in a chess championship.
The possible political scene in 2020 on the issue of abortion could unfold in dramatic ways. Leftist political parties hope that in 2020, they may establish a shared and committed legislative agenda on issues such as justice, corruption, and education. If that is not obtained, and the abortion issue is continuously raised, only then would an opportunity arise that could provoke such a public referendum on abortion. Even then it may not happen, as pro-abortion forces would boycott trying to achieve their goals in a way sure-fire to fail. Honorable Olga Sanchez-Cordero, appointee of President Lopez-Obrador as Secretary of Governance, has said she would lead an effort to legalize abortion in Congress without public consultation.
But for now, Mexico is safe. These developments have bought the pro-life movement time to continue to pray and work silently and diligently on its strategies to save the lives of the Mexican unborn children. That is our goal, and God is our King. Viva Cristo Rey!
Luis Martinez-Guzman is the founder and president of the International Human Rights Juridical Center in Mexico. He also serves as the HLI OAS Program Auxiliary Coordinator, as well as a member of HLI mission teams to Latin America and Spain.