September 22, 2011 ( – A plan being considered by Mexico’s Supreme Court to overturn two pro-life amendments to state constitutions is an attack on the sovereignty of the states and the juridical order of Mexico, according to two constitutional experts from the prestigious National Autonomous University of Mexico.

Constitutional law professor Ingrid Tapia and doctor of law José Antonio Sánchez Barroso say that the plan, drawn up by a Supreme Court justice, makes a “mockery” of states rights and overturns a long-standing constitutional precedent protecting the right to life from conception.

According to judge Fernando Franco, whose proposed verdict will be debated by the Supreme Court next week, “one cannot give preeminence to any right – not even the right to life – over other constitutional rights” and “it is invalid to treat the unborn as a juridical person.” Franco claims “human rights” law as the basis of the verdict.

However, in a press conference held yesterday, Dr. Sánchez Barroso noted that the right to life of the unborn has long been recognized in federal law.

“Such is the case of article 22 of the Federal Civil Code in effect since 1932, which, on the one hand, ordains legal protection [for life] from conception, and on the other hand, that the unborn is to be understood as having been born for those matters previously established by the legislator regarding this issue.”

Such legal provisions came into existence “without there being an express right to life in the Federal Constitution at that moment, and without having modern scientific knowledge that demonstrates the existence of human life from conception,” Barroso added.

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According to Tapia, the desire to use the same standards applied to Mexico City in earlier cases to the 18 states that have passed constitutional right-to-life amendments, “is an open mockery of the federal system and belittles the federated entities with second-class treatment.” 

The judges of the Supreme Court “are playing with the law whenever they believe, think, or are in the mood,” said Tapia.

Although the Mexican Constitution explicitly prohibits the death penalty in article 22, and Mexico is a signatory of the pro-life Pact of San Jose, the Supreme Court has issued a series of decisions upholding Mexico City’s abortion-on-demand legislation passed in 2007, as well as a federal order requiring hospitals to perform abortions in rape cases.

If the Supreme Court adopts Franco’s verdict proposal, it will effectively overturn its 2008 ruling on Mexico City’s abortion law, which permits the states to pass laws protecting the right to life.


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