Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled against a proposal that could have paved the way for the decriminalisation of abortion across the country.
In a 4-1 decision handed down on 29th July, the high court’s first bench voted down a proposal to uphold a lower court decision from the state of Veracruz. 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. The justices’ ruling on 29th July did not delve into the contents of the Veracruz criminal code.
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.”
The Mexican bishops’ conference welcomed the decision, tweeting immediately afterward: ‘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!’
In a statement on 24th July, the bishops urged “all Catholic faithful and all citizens to join efforts to ensure that the dignity of each human being is appreciated and that we get through the serious challenges we confront at this time in our country”.
Justice Juan Luis Gonzalez Alcantara Carranca had proposed the Supreme Court uphold the lower court ruling, Reforma reported. If three of five justices supported Gonzalez’s proposal, it would have been approved and implemented.
Picture: Archive photo from 2019 shows pro-life supporters praying outside the local congress in Oaxaca, Mexico. (CNS photo/Jorge Luis Plata, Reuters).