A new phase in Latin America’s pro-life movement?
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January 22, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Despite a massive pro-life Blue Wave movement (and a solid pro-life majority), abortion was legalized in Argentina last month after a number of senators were pressured into switching their votes by far-left President Alberto Fernández. While abortion activists are pushing for further loosening of restrictions in Chile, other Latin American leaders spoke up to condemn the move. With Argentina’s fall, the fight over abortion in largely pro-life Latin American countries has been ratcheted up. The abortion movement, represented by their signature green apparel, smells blood.
For the past several years, the Blue Wave movement has been successfully pushing back, with significant victories in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Chile. Now, legislators in Honduras are attempting a repeat of what the Irish accomplished in 1983 when they successfully inserted the 8th Amendment protecting life from conception into the Irish constitution, ensuring that it would be incredibly difficult to legalize abortion (the 8th Amendment saved hundreds of thousands of lives and held for 35 years, until it was repealed by referendum in 2018).
Abortion is illegal in all circumstances in Honduras, and pro-lifers are now pushing to pass a constitutional reform through Congress that, as The Guardian put it, “would make it virtually impossible to legalise abortion in the country — now or in the future.” The new law would require a minimum of three-quarters of Congress to vote in favor of changing Honduran abortion law, which raises “the vote threshold above what is normally necessary for constitutional reforms to a level that would be almost impossible to overcome.”
As with Ireland, the constitutional reform would also ensure that a court ruling could not simply overturn Honduras’s pro-life laws, a reliable and effective tactic for abortion activists when public opinion is not on their side. (The abortion movement recently suffered a disappointment on that score, as well, with the Mexican Supreme Court rejecting abortion decriminalization in a stunning 4 to 1 ruling.)
After Fernández’s wheeling and dealing and the willingness of abortion activists to win at all costs, Honduran pro-lifers are calling the new measure a “shield against abortion,” while opponents like Cristina Alvarado of the ironically-named Women’s Movement for Peace told The Guardian that “[i]t’s a shield to stop the green wave. [The legislators] want to shield against the possibility of future legislation that would decriminalise abortion.” This is worrisome for abortion activists, as it could set “a precedent that activists fear could be replicated across the region to halt the advance of reproductive rights for women.”
Even left-wing legislators in Honduras admit that Hondurans are very opposed to abortion — when lawmakers voted on whether to legalize eugenic abortions as well as feticide in the case of rape or incest in 2017, a mere eight of 128 legislators voted in favor. This was not, as abortion activists claim, conservative lawmakers imposing their will on the people, but rather a reflection of the public will. Hondurans — and most Latin Americans — do not want abortion to be legalized. Even in Mexico, decades of pro-abortion activism have not swayed the pro-life majority.
Without public opinion on their side, abortion activists have had to rely on other tactics; namely, electing sympathetic politicians with progressive agendas; attempting to shift opinion with a stream of tragic stories in the national and international press presenting abortion as the only answer to difficult circumstances; pressure from Western nations, international bodies, and NGOs; and launching court case after court case to overturn pro-life laws. Honduran lawmakers have realized that public opinion does not always dictate public policy, and they are taking steps to ensure pre-born children remain protected by law.
Perhaps this is the start of a new phase in the Blue Wave movement’s political strategy. I certainly hope so.