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Mexico’s Supreme Court upholds 2nd state pro-life amendment

by | Sep 30, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

Justice Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo

The margin was the same—a single vote—and the result the same. On Thursday Mexico’s supreme court upheld the right of a state to pass a pro-life amendment to its constitution to protect unborn children as it had the day before.

The  language of the north-central state of San Luis Potosí’s amendment “recognizes life as the foundation of all human rights, for which reason it respects and protects it from the moment of its beginning in conception.“ Although the vote was 7-4 to invalidate the amendment, under Mexican law, eight justices must agree before a law can be declared unconstitutional.

The state of  Baji California amended its constitution in 2008 to establish a person’s right to legal protection “from the moment an individual is conceived.” That amendment survived Wednesday on the same 7-4 vote as Thursday’s with newly appointed Justice Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo joining Justices Salvador Aguirre, Margarita Luna, and Guillermo Ortiz to uphold the amendment.

The Baji California decision followed three days of debate and revolved largely around the issue of what states are allowed to do when a topic is not clearly addressed in the federal constitution. The Court said in a statement that it “based its analysis strictly on constitutional issues. That is, the issue under debate was the power of the states to legislate on topics that are not expressly determined by the federal constitution.”

Baja California was one of the first of 18 states to adopt a right to life amendment, sparked by the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision affirming Mexico City’s law which legalized abortion throughout the first trimester. The vote in the legislature was overwhelming: 21-3.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón and First Lady Margarita Zavala have taken strong pro-life positions.

Calderón has asked the Senate to withdraw a reservation to the first paragraph of Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights. “Mexico entered into the treaty in 1981, but interpreted the provision the same year so that it would not oblige the country to protect life from conception,” according to Christiannewswire.

“Mexico has recognized human rights enshrined in international treaties such as the American Convention of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, among them the right to life, which is protected by our legislation, both federal and local,” read Calderon’s statement. “Mexico endorses a commitment to the right to life as protected by Mexican law.”

First lady Margarita Zavala endorsed the pro-life amendment in an editorial written this week.

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Categories: Abortion