By Meg Jalsevac

  MEXICO CITY, April 5, 2007 ( – A second Mexican bishop has issued an explicit warning to Mexico City’s legislatures cautioning them that, should they vote in favor of proposed legislation that would legalize abortion, they would be automatically excommunicated upon the death of the first baby under the new law.

  Mexico City is governed by an assembly which can pass legislation independent of the laws of the rest of the country.  Although the country as a whole is considered predominantly Catholic, the liberal Party of the Democrats runs the Mexico City Hall and holds a 34 seat majority in the 66 seat legislative body.  It is not known how many of the city legislators are practicing Catholics.

  Mexico City law already permits abortion in cases of rape and when the health of the mother is in danger but the legislation under consideration would broaden that permission to authorize all abortions within the first trimester.  The current national law only allows for abortions in cases of rape.

  Bishop Marcelino Hernandez, auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Mexico, explained that the Church would not need to issue an official excommunication – the very actions of the lawmakers would automatically put them outside the Church.  “The person excommunicates himself, it’s not that the Church goes around with a rod, looking for people who make mistakes, in order to hit them on the head.”

  Hernandez further explained the Church’s position saying, “Life is not subject to a vote.”  Acting as spokesman for Mexico’s Catholic Archdiocese, Armando Martinez previously condemned the upcoming vote saying, “If the assembly can’t be the city’s conscience, we will have to form our own party to represent us.”

  In March of this year, a similar warning was issued by the Mexican Episcopal conference in which Bishop Arizmendi of Chiapas, Mexico warned, “[A] law, only by being approved by a group of unscrupulous legislators, cannot change the morality of a fact. Christian consciousness considers abortion a murder and, thus, a grave, mortal sin, punished by excommunication.”

  Leaders around the country have condemned the abortion initiative in Mexico City.  Mexican President Felipe Calderón, a practicing Catholic, said, “I have a plain respect for dignity and human life and within this I believe the existing legislation is adequate.”

  Religious leaders from the Mexican Anglican and Greek Orthodox communities have also joined the country’s Catholic leaders in opposing the Mexico City legislation. 

  The majority party of the City legislature has voiced their confidence in the successful passage of the liberal abortion legislation.

  The Mexico City legislature also voted to allow civil unions in 2006 and has expressed an upcoming agenda that would include legalizing euthanasia in the near future.

  Read Previous coverage:
  Mexico City: Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox Church Leaders Unite in Fight Against Abortion Law

  Mexico City Legislature Votes to Approve Gay Civil Unions

  Mexico City Set to Vote to Allow Abortion Despite Pro-Life Constitution