Sunday, May 27, 2007

Top Mexico Rights Official Challenges Abortion Law

Mexico's national human rights ombudsman is trying to overturn an abortion law heavily criticized by the Roman Catholic Church, the Supreme Court said on Friday.

Last month, Mexico City's parliamentary body legalized abortion in the capital during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, sparking protests both for and against the legislation.

The law, one of the first to legalize abortion in strongly Catholic Latin America, drew fierce opposition from religious figures including Pope Benedict.

The Supreme Court said Jose Luis Soberanes, the country's top rights official, had presented a motion on Thursday arguing the law was unconstitutional.

Neither the court nor Soberanes' office gave details of the argument against the law.

The court said it would decide in the next few weeks whether to accept the motion and open a debate.
Eight of the eleven supreme court magistrates must vote in favor to pass motions of unconstitutionality.

Traveling to Brazil recently, Pope Benedict said Catholic politicians who supported the abortion law risked excommunication from the church and should not receive communion.

The Catholic Church says abortion is the taking of a human life and considers it a grave sin.

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