MEXICO CITY, April 24, 2008 ( – Mexico City’s Secretary of Health, Manuel Mondragón, admits that the legalization of abortion in the city “has tended to increase” the abortion rate, but in his opinion, “not in a disproportionate way”, according to the French Press Agency.

The admission by a pro-abortion politician that legalizing abortion increases its frequency is rare.

Since Mexico City passed the Law of Legal Interruption of Pregnancy a little over a year ago, approximately 7,820 abortions have been carried out by city medical personnel. The law is currently being disputed before the nation’s Supreme Court by federal officials who are arguing that it is a human rights violation.
  Despite the admitted increase in abortions, the number performed in Mexico City during the past year was far less per capita than in developed countries, where abortion is more socially acceptable.

Mexico’s relatively low abortion rate is partially attributable to a strong pro-life tendency in the culture.  One Mexico City resident who said she had had a legal abortion acknowledged in a recent interview that women find it difficult to seek an abortion in Mexico because of the “social rejection” they are likely to experience. 

Another woman who obtained an abortion because her birth control failed, identified by only her first name, Alejandra, admitted to the BBC that she can’t tell her family what happened because “it is a topic that creates conflict”.

Polls indicate a strong opposition to abortion, and a plurality of voters are opposed to further decriminalization.  Although abortion is not penalized in cases of rape or fetal deformity in most states, officials are sometimes reluctant to allow abortions even in those cases.

Mexico’s strong pro-life tendency is also reflected in attitudes of doctors.  Doctor Jorge Nava Flores, Chief of Gynecology at one of the hospitals where abortions are performed, admitted to the BBC in a recent interview it is already difficult to find doctors who are willing to commit abortions.

However, despite this problem, Mondragón has announced plans to expand the availability of abortion in Mexico City.  It is currently provided in only 14 hospitals.