By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, November 4, 2008 ( – The Archbishop of Montevideo, Uruguay, Nicolas Cotugno, said yesterday that those legislators who vote for abortion are “ipso facto (by that very fact) excommunicated.”

The archbishop noted that “it is an excommunication, according to canon law, that takes effect immediately” and added that a formal excommunication (one issued explicitly by name) “could also occur.”
  When asked if he would push for the formal excommunication of those who vote for the legalization of abortion in Uruguay, the Archbishop answered “in communion with the Pope and all of the bishops, yes.”

The archbishop’s remarks, which appeared in the Uruguayan newspaper El Pais, were made in response to an initiative in the Uruguayan Congress to legalize abortion, which may be voted on today.  Although the nation’s president, Tabare Vazquez, has promised to veto the legislation should it pass, it is feared that such a vote could weaken Latin America’s almost universal resistance to the legalization of the murderous practice. 

“We are not talking about – and I want to emphasize this – religious issues,” said the archbishop. “We are talking about a natural reality that forces all of humanity to derive its conceptions, not from ideological or cultural assumptions, but from natural assumptions that precede the very existence of human beings.”
“If we take away the common denominator from human nature, I ask all of my brothers: what universal reference can there be in humanity that ensures human rights?  What human right exists that is as fundamental as the right to be born and to live? Who is the other person to say ‘you are not going to live, you don’t have the right to life, you have to die’?”

The bishop put the blame for the pro-abortion measure in part on powerful international forces that have been pressuring the nation to legalize abortion. “There are interests, all of which came from the North, from the Cairo and Beijing meetings, the United Nations Organization – it is powerful – which promote the depenalization of abortion, and it is this vision that is distinct and contrary to the family, tradition, and humanity,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Latin American pro-lifers are denouncing the vote, which they say is based on a fraud perpetrated by pro-abortion legislators.

According to “Situacao da Defesa da Vida” (The Defense of Life Situation), two representatives in Uruguay’s Chamber of Deputies (the lower legislative house) altered the votes of pro-life representatives following an earlier vote, and falsely reported the approval of the legislation to the Senate.  They also claim that other serious procedural violations have occurred.

The same group points out that support for the legalization of abortion in Uruguay has dropped in recent years, from 68% in 2005 to 61% in 2007, and finally to 49% in a recent poll.  The increasing opposition to abortion in Uruguay reflects similar trends across Latin America, including Brazil, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Argentina.

Previous LifeSiteNews coverage:

Socialist Legislators Fight over Abortion Legalization Bill in Uruguay

Uruguayan Senate Approves Bill Legalizing Abortion

Uruguayan Senate Ties on Pro-Abortion Legislation