Mexican State of Colima Rejects Legalization of Abortion 19-1

Thu Jan 29, 2009 - 12:15 pm EST

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, South American Correspondent

COLIMA, MEXICO, January 29 ( - The Mexican State of Colima has become the latest to reject an initiative by Mexican socialists to legalize abortion, in a 19-1 vote in the state Congress.

The representative who formulated the law, Adolfo Nunez Gonzales of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), attributed his loss to the influence of the Catholic faith in the state, which led the liberal Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) to vote with the more pro-life National Action Party against the bill.

"It’s not a secret for anyone that the Catholic Church is a sector with a lot of power and weight, and that, of course, what is said in a church one Sunday or whatever day the mass is done, influences the people to analyze it all week," he said. "PRI members are not foolish and know that if they have a good relationship with the Church, it can encourage the votes of many people."

The PRD has been promoting the legalization of abortion throughout Mexico since passing legislation in the ultraliberal stronghold of Mexico City in 2007, where their party has a majority in the legislature.  However, its national pro-abortion initiative has consistently failed and has even provoked constitutional amendments at the state level explicitly acknowledging the right to life from conception.

Members of all political parties, including the PRD, voted to maintain the existing law in the state of Colima, which provides criminal penalties for all abortions except those undertaken in cases of fetal deformities, rape, or danger to the life of the mother. Members of the PRD have opposed abortion legalization in other parts of Mexico as well.

Although exemptions from criminal penalties often exist at the state level in Mexico, Mexicans rarely have recourse to them, due to the strong pro-life values that permeate Mexican society.

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