By Peter J. Smith

MEXICO CITY, April 30, 2007 ( – The Catholic Church in Mexico called upon doctors at city-run hospitals in Mexico City to resist the new abortion law and conscientiously refuse to perform abortions.

In a letter read at all Sunday Masses, the Catholic Primate of Mexico, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, declared that the law was unjust and demanded that medical professionals refuse to perform abortions out of conscience, disregarding the law’s prohibition of conscientious objection.

“We call on all of those of good conscience not to be responsible for the abominable act,” stated the letter of Mexico City’s Archbishop. “We remind the doctors, nurses, health care workers and all those affected by this unjust law, that they can invoke their human right to conscientious objection.”

Last Thursday, the Mexico City government legalized abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, although elsewhere in Mexico abortion remains illegal except in cases of rape, incest, and severe fetal birth defects.

The Catholic Church has vowed to fight against the new abortion law even as the Interior Ministry begins proceedings against the Church for violating laws prohibiting its involvement in politics. On Wednesday, the Ministry filed administrative proceedings against Mexico City Archbishop Norberto Rivera Carrera and his spokesman Hugo Valdemar for breaking the Law of Religious Associations and Public Worship.

Archdiocese spokesman Hugo Valdemar Romero has stated that any doctors and nurses who perform abortions and any lawmaker who supported Mexico City’s abortion law would incur the penalty of excommunication.

Romero vowed the Church would not cease its campaign against abortion, despite the Government’s proceedings against the Church.

“For the Church, this is just the beginning,” Romero was quoted as saying on Friday. “The Cardinal has promised the Holy Father to work earnestly in favor of life, and that work will be carried out intensely, not only by the Archdiocese, but all over the country.”