MEXICO: Court upholds provision saying life begins at conception
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.
REPORTING FROM MEXICO CITY -- Abortion foes in Mexico scored a victory Wednesday when the Supreme Court upheld a provision of Baja California’s state constitution that says life begins at conception.
Seven of the court’s 11 justices deemed the measure unconstitutional, but that was one short of the eight votes needed to overturn it.
The court, ruling after three days of debate, next takes up a challenge to a similar antiabortion law in the central state of San Luis Potosi.
The two cases have been watched as a measure of abortion rights in Mexico, where more than a dozen states have enacted similar laws in response to a 2007 move by Mexico City to legalize abortion. Outside the capital, abortion is illegal except in some circumstances, though it is infrequently prosecuted.
Antiabortion activists who had been camped outside the Supreme Court building reportedly whooped with glee at word of the ruling.
Justices who opposed the measures explicitly granting rights to the unborn said such laws exceed states’ authority and violate the rights of women by prohibiting abortion, even in cases of rape or when the mother’s health is endangered.
For the record, 5:50 p.m. Sept. 28: A headline on a previous version of this post stated the Supreme Court ruling says life begins at conception. It should have said the court ruling upheld a state provision saying life begins at conception.
-- Ken Ellingwood
Photo: Antiabortion activists pray in Mexico City, Sept. 26, 2011. Credit: Moises Castillo/Associated Press