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Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

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18th Mexican state passes pro-life constitutional amendment, UN officials express outrage

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

August 1, 2016 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Mexican state of Veracruz has become the eighteenth Mexican state to approve a pro-life constitutional amendment that protects the right to life of the unborn, sparking outrage from feminist groups and the pro-abortion agencies of the United Nations.

The amendment, approved by the state legislature on July 27 by a vote of 34-9, affirms, “The State will guarantee the right to life of the human person from the moment of conception until natural death, as a primordial value that supports the exercise of all other rights, save the exceptions made in the laws.”

The “exceptions” referred to in the amendment include rape, a deformity, or risk to the life of the mother, which are already listed in the state’s penal code.

Although the amendment must still be approved by half of the state’s municipal governments, that approval is already widely seen as a fait accompli

Intervention of archbishop was crucial to passage

The bill, which had passed an initial approval vote earlier this year, had stalled following a promise made by governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa that a vote would be held following state elections. However, the legislation was quickly submitted to the legislature for a decision after the archbishop of the city of Xalapa, Hipólito Reyes Larios, gave a sermon denouncing the government’s inaction on the issue. 

“We’re already in the period following the elections, this legislative session is already about to end, and I want to ask the legislators and the governor that they keep their promise to us,” said Reyes Larios from the pulpit. “Hopefully they will vote on this law. It’s very important. It’s about the defense of the most important thing we have, life.”

Within 72 hours of the archbishop’s sermon, the amendment was passed.

Rejoicing from citizens, lamentation from pro-abortion feminists and the United Nations

The Mexican offices of UN Women, the UN Population Fund, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights jointly issued a statement condemning the amendment, according to the Mexico City newspaper El Universal.

The UN organizations were quoted as claiming that the amendment “compromises the rights of women” because it will have a “grave effect on their life, health, education, and integrity,” and will increase “discrimination and the risk of violence against them, and is accompanied by serious consequences such as teen pregnancy, clandestine and unsafe abortions, and maternal mortality.”

However, the women of the town of Poza Rica didn’t share the assessment of the UN agencies, according to the local Poza Rica Daily newspaper. All seemed to support the law, although some agreed with exceptions for rape or urged better “family planning” to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

“I don’t agree with abortion,” Inés Jiménez Hernández, a mother of 16 children, told the Poza Rica Daily. “God gave us children to have them and to raise them, not to kill them. We are not the ones to make that decision. I had sixteen children and although it was difficult I raised them all.”

Jiménez Hernández told reporters that she was “in agreement with punishing women who abort their children. There are women who would like to have children and can’t, but there are those who can and kill them. It’s not just.”

“For God life is very important,” said Eva Martínez Trinidad. “From the time the baby is one cell that life is already important. To end a pregnancy is a crime no matter what the circumstances.”

“I’m in agreement with the law,” said Luis Salas, “for that reason it’s necessary to plan one’s family and the number of children we want to have, but undesired pregnancies in young girls are also the fault of the parents who don’t care for their daughters. They let them go out with anyone and when they end up pregnant they want to have an abortion.”

With the adoption of a pro-life amendment by Veracruz the number of state legislatures supporting the right to life has exceeded by two states the number required to approve an amendment to the Mexican constitution itself. In addition to the approval of sixteen state legislatures, such an amendment would require a two-thirds majority vote in the national congress, consisting of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

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