In a monumental decision yesterday, the Supreme Court of Mexico upheld an amendment in the constitution of the Mexican state of Baja California providing that life begins at conception. AUL filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing in favor of the amendment.
The case followed years of intense debate throughout the country. In 2007, the Federal District of Mexico City passed a law allowing abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. When the Supreme Court upheld the law in 2008, a number of Mexican states—including Baja California—began amending their state constitutions to ensure that pressure from abortion advocates would not result in similar laws across the nation.
AUL’s brief presented detailed medical evidence demonstrating that abortion hurts women, both physically and psychologically. AUL urged the Court to allow Baja California to protect the health and welfare of women in Mexico through the constitutional amendment.
Because the case dealt with whether a state can restrict abortion under the federal constitution in Mexico, the case had been dubbed Mexico’s “Roe v. Wade.” While seven of the Court’s twelve justices (called “ministers”) would have overturned the amendment, the Mexican Constitution requires eight votes to overturn a law. The decision, written by Minister Jorge Pardo, concluded that the state’s constitution did not conflict with the nation’s constitution, because the rights of the unborn have long been recognized in Mexican federal law.
While the practical effect of the amendment remains to be seen, media outlets are already reporting that the amendment effectively bans abortion in Baja California—which means both women and the unborn are will be protected under the law in that state.