Lawmakers in Mexico City voted on Apr 24 to legalize abortion in the capital of the world’s second-largest Roman Catholic country. By a vote of 46 to 19, they passed a bill allowing women to abort in the first three months of pregnancy.
Debate on the measure split Mexico and galvanized church leaders, who opposed the legislation and threatened to excommunicate politicians who supported it. Some 90 percent of Mexico’s population of 107 million is Catholic. An estimated 8.6 million people live within Mexico City limits, but the larger metropolitan area is one of the world’s most gargantuan, with a whopping 18 million residents.
The abortion development came less than one week after reproductive freedom advocates suffered a significant setback in the United States on Apr 18, when the Supreme Court upheld a 2003 law passed by Congress and signed by President Bush, which bans the procedure known as partial-birth abortion.
An abortion ban will remain in force in the rest of Mexico and anti-abortion campaigners are likely to challenge Mexico City’s abortion law in the supreme court.