[QODLink]
Americas
Mexico court upholds abortion law
Mexico's supreme court supports abortion in nation's capital.
Last Modified: 29 Aug 2008 19:07 GMT
Following the supreme court's vote, judges said that no grounds remain to overturn the law [Reuters]

Mexico's supreme court has upheld a law allowing abortion in the nation's capital, defying president Felipe Calderon's conservative government and the Roman Catholic Church on the issue.

With the support of eight out of 11 judges on Thursday, the law was upheld, allowing women to seek abortion within the first three weeks of pregnancy at hospitals, private and public abortion clinics within Mexico City.

Judges said there were no grounds to overturn a law, approved in 2007 by the Mexico assembly, that legalised abortions in the capital.

Landmark decision

The decision could open the door for other states in Mexico, the world's second-most populous Catholic country, to follow the capital's lead in relaxing laws that criminalise abortion, legal experts said.

The judges found that Mexico's constitution did not explicitly guarantee the right to life of a fetus, and that the interests of the unborn had to be balanced with those of women seeking an abortion. 

The conservative federal government had challenged the law, backed by anti-abortion groups and the church.

After three days of debating the issue, a majority of judges rejected their claim that the law - introduced last April by the capital's left-wing government - was unconstitutional.

"The legal and social impact of this decision are undeniable," Guillermo Ortiz Mayagoitia, the president of the court, said.

'Difficult services'

Since the law was applied on April 27 last year, about 12,000 women aged between 18 and 29 have had abortions in 12 clinics in the capital, human rights groups say.

Between 1990 and 2005, an average of 13 women died per year due to clandestine abortions in Mexico City, according to pro-abortion groups.

The ultra-conservative Provida organisation said eight women had died per year.

Since last April only one woman, aged 16, is believed to have died during an abortion, due to her doctor being misinformed about the length of her pregnancy.

Throughout Mexico, states allow abortions only under limited circumstances, such as rape and incest.

However, human rights groups say that in practice such abortions are difficult to obtain.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
The group's takeover of farms in Qaraqosh, 30km from Mosul, has caused fear among residents, and a jump in food prices.
Protests and online activism in recent months have brought a resurgence of ethnic Oromo nationalism in Ethiopia.
Chemotherapy is big business, but some US doctors say it could be overused and are pushing for cheaper and better care.
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
join our mailing list