MEXICO CITY, April 24, 2008 ( – Mexico City’s Law of Legal Interruption of Pregnancy, which one year ago legalized first trimester abortions without restrictions, has become the subject of public debate before the Mexican Supreme Court.

Following passage of the law in 2007, the nation’s executive branch under Felipe Calderón Hinojosa launched a challenge against it in the nation’s highest tribunal on the grounds that it violated human rights and other constitutional provisions.  The case is still under consideration.

With a dark crucifix hanging above them, the eleven judges have been receiving comments from both sides of the issue since April 11, in a measure that the Mexican press is calling “unprecedented”.

The first two witnesses before the Court were the nation’s attorney general, Eduardo Medina Mora, and the president of the National Human Rights Commission, José Luis Soberanes, who are the plaintiffs in the suit against Mexico City.

Since then, witnesses have reportedly included experts in bioethics, genetics, human rights, and law, reports the Zenit news service.

One expert witness, Dr. Jorge Traslosheros Hernández, told the court, “If you decide in favor of indiscriminate abortion, you will be placing yourselves on the side of those who throughout history have held back the rights of Indians, women, black people, Jews, and now too, the embryo,” reported Zenit.

Witnesses have included representatives of pro-abortion groups as well, including “Catholics for the Right to Decide,” a group that has been repeatedly denounced by Church officials for misrepresenting Catholic teaching on the sanctity of human life and other topics.

Mexico City officials are enraged by the federal executive’s stiff opposition to their law, and have repeatedly denounced the Catholic Church’s energetic involvement in the issue.  The Cardinal Archbishop of Mexico City has spoken forcefully against the law.

Victor Hugo Cirigo, president of the Government Commission of the Mexico City Legislative Assembly, angrily claimed today that there is a strategy being coordinated by executive branch members and Church authorities, a theme that has been taken up many times by city officials.

The hearings are scheduled to last for months, and another round will begin in November, according to the Mexican news service La Jornada.

Meanwhile, protests that began before the law was passed are continuing.  Jorge Serrano Limón, head of Pro-Vida (Pro-Life), recently led a protest on the steps of the city’s Legislative Assembly building.  Protestors held candles, which they then left burning on the steps.