The Mexico Supreme Court on Friday announced that it has accepted a petition, filed by the National Human Right’s Commission, to review the constitutionality of a Mexico City law that allows pregnant women to obtain an abortion during the first three months’ gestation, the Los Angeles Times reports (Tobar, Los Angeles Times, 5/29).
Lawmakers from the Party of the Democratic Revolution in March in the Mexico City Legislature proposed allowing abortions during the first three months of pregnancy in the city, and lawmakers approved the measure in April. City Health Secretary Manuel Mondragon said the law requires that women seeking abortions prove they are residents of the city except in cases of medical emergency. He also said that each facility would be able to perform about seven abortions daily. Girls younger than age 18 will need parental consent to obtain an abortion. The law allows gynecologists who have moral objections to refrain from performing abortions (Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, 4/27).
NHRC, along with the attorney general’s office, on Friday filed the petition, saying that the law violates a constitutional clause guaranteeing the right to life and that city legislators do not have the authority to approve measures related to health, the AP/International Herald Tribune reports (Grillo, AP/International Herald Tribune, 5/28). The court has not scheduled a date to hear the case, according to the Times. The votes of eight of the court’s 11 justices are required to overturn a law (Los Angeles Times, 5/29). The Democratic Revolutionary Party called on supporters of the law to block federal government offices later this week, the AP/Herald Tribune reports. “It’s a political maneuver to satisfy a certain public opinion over this law,” Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said, adding, “But legally, it’s got no base” (AP/International Herald Tribune, 5/28). Meanwhile, opponents of the law have said they will protest in front of city hospitals and encourage physicians to be “conscientious objectors,” who will not perform abortions, the Times reports.
700 Women Request Abortions After Passage of Law
About 700 women have requested abortions at city public hospitals since legislators passed the law, and hundreds more women have received abortions at private clinics, government officials and abortion-rights groups said recently, the Times reports. As of Wednesday, Mexico City physicians had performed 215 abortions, and 292 women had appointments for the procedure, officials said. The remaining women are awaiting appointments, and 6% of the requests were made by minors, according to officials. “There has not been a huge demand, like many people supposed,” Mondragon told city legislators at a hearing last week, adding that abortion opponents “thought that once abortion was legalized, everyone would get one. That hasn’t been the case”