A young woman in Oaxaca, Mexico, 8 months pregnant. (Joseph Sorrentino/Shutterstock)
If the Supreme Court had upheld the lower court ruling, it would have opened the door to the legalization of abortion throughout the country.
MEXICO CITY, Mexico — The Mexican Bishops’ Conference hailed the Supreme Court’s 4-1 decision striking down a lower court ruling that had ordered the state of Veracruz to legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
“Today in Mexico the culture of life is triumphing,” the conference tweeted after the Supreme Court announced its ruling Wednesday.
The conference thanked “each and every one who joined together to pray and to raise their voices.”
Veracruz state’s constitution protects life from conception to natural death, and state law provides few exceptions.
However, a legal challenge alleged that the ban on abortion constituted discrimination against women. A lower court had instructed state lawmakers to enact legislation allowing for abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
The state appealed, and the case was sent to the first bench of the Supreme Court.
If the Supreme Court had upheld the lower court ruling, it would have opened the door to the legalization of abortion throughout the country. Currently, only Mexico City and Oaxaca state have legalized abortion on demand up to 12 weeks’ gestation.
Supreme Court Justice Juan Luis González Alcántara Carrancá, nominated to the bench in 2018 by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, presented arguments backing the lower court’s ruling and was the only judge to vote in favor of it.
Voting against were justices Norma Lucía Piña Hernández, Margarita Ríos Farjat, Jorge Mario Pardo Rebolledo and Alfredo Gutiérrez Ortiz Mena.
Auxiliary bishop Alfonso Miranda of Monterrey, Guardiola, secretary general of the Mexican bishops’ conference, posted on Twitter after the ruling, “Thank you. Blessed be God. #Yes to life.”
The Archdiocese of Mexico City tweeted that “today life won in Veracruz–and in the country itself–thanks to the Supreme Court’s rejection of the effort to decriminalize abortion in the state, recognizing that this procedure is not a right in any law, whether national or international.”
In the run up to the vote, the Mexican bishops’ conference and other pro-life organizations had spoken out strongly against the expansion of legal abortion.
More than 200 local and federal legislators, joined by more than 200 jurists, had presented an open letter to the Supreme Court on July 28, asking them to overturn the lower court’s decision.
In addition, more than 200,000 people signed a CitizenGO petition asking the Supreme Court to reject the appeal and defend the right to life.