By Dave Andrusko
At the end of the day Wednesday, we learned that Mexico’s Supreme Court, by a 4-1 vote, had unexpectedly rejected a lower court decision that had decriminalized abortion in the state of Veracruz.
Adding to what we wrote yesterday, here are more specific details.
According to The Catholic Universe, “The Veracruz decision ordered the state legislature to reform its criminal code and remove any penalties for abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.”
Only Justice Juan Luis Gonzalez Alcantara Carranca proposed the Supreme Court uphold the lower court ruling.
The other justices were concerned about overstepping their proper boundaries, according to both The Catholic Universe and the very pro-abortion BBC.
The Catholic Universe reported
Justice Norma Pina, who voted with the majority against the proposal, voiced concerns that the court could not order another branch of government – the Veracruz legislature – to take certain actions or act as lawmakers.
“The court cannot replace the legislature to order specific legislative content, because there is no constitutional mandate to legislate,” Pina said, according to the newspaper Reforma.
“The court would fall into judicial activism,” Pina added, “which would surpass its constitutional powers.”
According to the BBC, in delivering her verdict, another justice
said that upholding the decision would “greatly overstep the constitutional powers of this Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.” Another voted against it because of what she called “a legal technicality.”
Of course, much more was at stake than the law in a single eastern state that borders the Gulf of Mexico. The widespread fear among pro-lifers (and equally widespread hope among pro-abortionists) was that a favorable decision would lead to widespread abortion “liberalization” in Mexico. There are 32 states in Mexico. Abortion is legal in only two.
As so often is the case, a ruling by a single judge instigated the review at the nation’s highest court. “Last year, a judge in Xalapa, Veracruz, approved an injunction ordering the state’s Congress to remove articles 149, 150 and 154 of the local penal code,” the BBC reported.
“The case then went to Mexico’s Supreme Court, which needed to decide whether to uphold that judge’s decision.
“Removing these articles would have decriminalised abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, allowed terminations for health reasons, and gotten rid of the time limit on abortions in cases of rape.”
Prior to yesterday’s decision, Bishop Herrera, who heads up the Commission for Life of the Mexican Bishops’ Conference and is the Bishop of Nuevo Casa Grandes, released a statement on July 24 in which he expressed concern that the Supreme Court’s decision could have “a direct impact on the legal protection of the fundamental human right to life, particularly in its early stages,” Vatican News reported.
“Bishop Herrera added that a ruling quashing Veracruz’s abortion law would have immediate effect in the state, which could eventually extend to the rest of Mexico.”
Yesterday, immediately after the court’s decision, The Mexican bishops’ conference tweeted “Today in #Mexico, a culture of life triumphs, thanks to everyone and each of you who joined together to pray and raise their voices. May life live!”