Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Arriba arriba!

Andale andale! Another country that's been paralyzed in the reproductive dark ages for years is slowly shaking off the petrified chains of religious doctrine -- Mexico City passed a law to legalize abortion today:

"MEXICO CITY — Mexico City lawmakers voted to legalize abortion Tuesday, a decision likely to influence policies and health practices across Mexico and other parts of heavily Roman Catholic Latin America.

The proposal, approved 46-19, with one abstention, will take effect with the expected signing by the city's leftist mayor. Abortion opponents have already vowed to appeal the law to the Supreme Court, a move likely to extend the bitter and emotional debate in this predominantly Catholic nation."...

While the new abortion law is a step forward, it's very restrictive: the procedure must be performed in the first trimester, and a woman can still go to prison for having an abortion at later than 12 weeks gestation. And it's only in Mexico City that the procedure is legal; the outlying areas are still locked down in the prison of forced childbirth. But the Mexico City decision will have an impact on those areas, if only because it means a woman is no longer forced to leave the country or risk her life with a back alley abortion. If she can get on a bus and get to the city, she's got reproductive choice. And for a country whose women have strained and suffered in the yoke of intrusive fundamentalist catholicism for hundreds of years, that's huge. Ole, chiquitas! Felicitaciones!