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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mexican Supreme Court Upholds Baja California Law

The Mexican state of Baja California amended their Constitution in 2008 to define life as beginning at conception. The amendment made it all the way to the Supreme Court which upheld the law. Mexico requires 8 of the 11 members of their Supreme Court to vote in favor of overturning a law for it to be overturned; 7 voted against the Baja California measure. In 2008, the Mexican Supreme Court upheld a law in Mexico City, which is treated as its own state, that legalized abortion within its border. Here's an excerpt from the LA Times piece on the ruling:
Abortion foes in Mexico scored a victory Wednesday when the Supreme Court narrowly upheld a provision of Baja California's state constitution saying life begins at conception.

Although seven of the court's 11 justices deemed the measure unconstitutional, they were short of the eight votes needed to overturn it.

The court debate carried heightened suspense because two of the tribunal's 11 members have joined since the court's 2008 ruling upholding a Mexico City law allowing access to abortion. As it turned out, one new judge voted to uphold the Baja California measure and the other voted to invalidate it.

Abortion opponents who had been camped outside the Supreme Court building whooped with glee at word of the ruling. In Baja California, Catholic Archbishop Rafael Romo of Tijuana hailed it as "a positive decision."

Advocates for reproductive rights called the close ruling a temporary setback in the country's abortion debate...The court, ruling after three days of debate, next takes up a challenge to a similar anti-abortion law in the central state of San Luis Potosi.

The two cases have been watched as a measure of abortion rights in Mexico, where more than a dozen states have enacted similar laws as a response to a move by Mexico City to legalize abortion in 2007. Outside the capital, abortion is already illegal, except in some circumstances, but it is infrequently prosecuted.

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