MEXICO CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Mexican Supreme Court has ruled in favor of life, overturning a judgment that could have opened the door to legal abortion throughout the country.
According to El Financiero, on July 29, four of the five justices voted against the bill to change the penal code of Veracruz. The code makes exceptions for abortion in the Mexican state in cases of rape or danger of death of the mother.
If the Supreme Court had upheld the bill, Veracruz would have become the third state to legalize abortion, after Mexico City and Oaxaca. The ruling would likely have been used to push for abortion in other states.
The Mexican bishops' conference welcomed the decision, tweeting: "Today in #Mexico, a culture of life triumphs, thanks to everyone and each of you who joined together to pray and raise their voices. May life live!"
In the run-up to the vote, the Mexican bishops' conference expressed strong opposition to the decriminalization of abortion in Veracruz.
In a July 24 press release, Bp. José Jesús Herrera Quiñones, head of the pro-life committee of the bishops' conference, said: "We affirm, in accordance with scientific evidence, that human life begins from the moment of conception."
"Human dignity must be recognized and cared for," he noted, stressing that women in crisis pregnancies should be offered material, physical and psychological support rather than abortion.
He expressed concern that the Supreme Court's decision could have "a direct impact on the legal protection of the fundamental human right to life, particularly in its early stages."
The bishop expressed the fear of many Catholics that a ruling reversing Veracruz's abortion law could eventually spread to the rest of Mexico: "Although its immediate consequences would have an effect in that state, its effects could be extended to the other entities of the country."
Earlier, in a July 16 letter, Mexico's bishops said, "We denounce all attempts — explicit or veiled, direct or sophisticated — to justify abortion or take away legal protections from children before being born."
The bishops condemned a Culture of Death as Mexicans awaited the court's ruling and as Mexico documented record numbers of Wuhan virus deaths in the previous six months.
"The level of violence astonishes and hurts us due to its quantity, frequency and cruelty, and we cannot remain indifferent to it," the bishops said, referring to deaths by abortion and deaths from the pandemic.
Laypeople also chimed in on the pro-life victory.
He said he was grateful for "all the effort, the dedication of the entire society in favor of life" prior to the vote. Cortés also praised local and federal legislators who sent an open letter to the Supreme Court justices urging them to reject abortion.
Anti-life groups were hopeful the Court would rule in their favor, seeing an opportunity to promote pro-abortion actions in other Mexican state legislatures.
"This ruling could allow us to petition for injunctions or other measures in the rest of the states which have restrictive regulations on abortion," said Rebeca Ramos, a lawyer and director of GIRE, a reproductive rights organization in Mexico City.
Reportedly more than 200,000 people also signed a CitizenGo petition urging the Supreme Court to reject abortion.
Cortés said that although the July 29 ruling represents a significant victory, the pro-life battle must continue because most states still have pending legislation that could expand abortion.