Mexico Supreme Court refuses to strike down law requiring hospitals to abort babies conceived in rape
August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Mexico’s Supreme Court rejected last week a proposed ruling that would have invalidated a federal regulation requiring the country’s public hospitals to perform abortions in cases of rape, despite questions raised by two state governments regarding its validity under federal law.
Moreover, the court's president has told the media that women claiming to have been raped will not have to secure a guilty verdict against the perpetrator, nor to file a criminal claim, in order to have the procedure. They will only need to sign an affidavit stating they were raped.
Mexican and international media widely reported that the Supreme Court had upheld the federal regulation, known as NOM 046, and had even ordered hospitals to do abortions. However, this was not the case; the court simply refused to strike down the regulation, which was being contested on technical and procedural grounds. The court is expected to issue a jurisprudential opinion on the regulation within a year.
Still, the Supreme Court President Arturo Zaldívar, who was on the majority that refused to strike down the law, strongly hinted in his declarations that the court intends to positively declare the constitutionality of the regulation at some time in the future, claiming that the killing of unborn children in rape cases is a “right” of women, and that the poor and vulnerable are in need of it.
“This kind of limitation, of obstruction of this right of women, normally affects the poorest, most vulnerable women, as well as girls and indigenous women, because there is a certain social sector of the Mexican population, which will in any case interrupt a pregnancy, because it has access to places where this sort of thing is done, but those levels of our people that are the most vulnerable, have this regulation to protect women and girls,” said Zaldívar.
Later, in an interview with Radio Fórmula, Zaldivar made it clear that he believes a woman should only have to submit a signed and sworn statement affirming she was raped, in order to receive a state-sponsored abortion. “Her word is enough, because what is sought here is to protect the victims," said Zaldívar.
Other justices on the court’s majority defending the regulation echoed the claim that abortion is a “human right,” that it was necessary to “protect” women, and that a “gender perspective” was necessary in the court’s approach.
The current version of the regulation has been in place since 2009, when the ostensibly pro-life administration of President Felipe Calderón acceded to pressure from international pro-abortion forces and modified the previous version of the regulation to require public hospitals to perform abortions in cases of rape.
The regulation requires all of the country’s public hospitals to provide the abortifacient morning-after pill for rape victims within 120 hours of a reported rape, and adds that if the woman is impregnated, she has a right to an abortion by the hospital, with the previous permission of the “competent authority.” The regulation does not state how quickly this must be done, or what proof must be given of the rape. Doctors with moral objections to abortion are exempt from the requirement, although hospitals are required to hire medical personnel who have no qualms about killing the unborn.
Most Mexican states have long permitted abortion in cases of rape, although hospitals were not required by law to provide such abortions, and most Mexican doctors refused to do them. Mexico’s strongly Catholic cultural traditions and traditional love of children and family have produced a strong pro-life sentiment that led to the creation of pro-life constitutional amendments in a majority of Mexican states following the legalization of abortion-on-demand in Mexico City in 2007.
The state of Nuevo León became the latest to pass such an amendment in March of this year, making a total of 20 of Mexico’s 31 states that have such amendments. Nonetheless, all of the states continue to allow exceptions to their prohibitions on abortion.
In 2011, Mexico’s purported “Roe v. Wade” case was decided by the Supreme Court in favor of the pro-life constitutional amendments, when the court failed to reach a sufficient majority to overturn them as unconstitutional. The upholding of NOM 046 does not overturn that ruling.