Mexico City, Oct 3 (EFE).- Thousands of people turned out on Sunday in Mexico City to march along the iconic Paseo de la Reforma avenue carrying blue pro-life signs to protest against abortion and express their displeasure over the Supreme Court of Justice’s recent ruling that criminally penalizing abortion in Coahuila state is unconstitutional, a ruling that has set an historic precedent in this overwhelmingly Catholic nation.
“(We’re here) to defend the rights of the baby, which is already alive from the first moment that the egg is fertilized. You have to save the baby and the mother because often (they abort) because they’re forced to, because they’re afraid, but there are options,” Maria Guadalupe Cardenas, a woman attending the march, told EFE.
The marchers participating in the “Supporting Women and Life” march, which was called by pro-life organizations and Mexican Catholic Church authorities, gathered in front of the National Auditorium and at 11:30 am they set out for the iconic Angel of Independence monument, where a large stage had been set up and where a manifesto was publicly read.
“It makes us sad that in September the (Supreme) Court came out confronting us as the enemy of women and the human life of our children. It is pushing us to think that we have to choose between the women who aborted and absolute respect for the life of her child from conception,” the manifesto read.
On Sept. 7, Mexico’s high court declared the criminalization of abortion to be unconstitutional, setting an historic precedent that prevents the imprisonment of women and medical personnel who help them with their consent to obtain abortions.
Abortion, the criminalization of which is a matter for state authorities to decide, has only been decriminalized in four of Mexico’s 32 states: Mexico City, Oaxaca, Hidalgo and Veracruz.
The ruling, stemming from a 2017 challenge by the former administration’s Attorney General’s Office to the Coahuila Penal Code, only invalidated legislation criminalizing abortion in Coahuila, but it establishes an “obligatory criterion” for all judges, high court President Arturo Zaldivar said.
Since the court handed down its decision, movements against abortion all around Mexico have declared themselves to be against the ruling and announced the march – and similar ones nationwide – on Sunday, calling for a “great national agreement” to protect “women and the lives of all Mexicans.”
“Today we’re here because we believe, because we trust and because we love … We’re here because we want to stop reproaching and dividing, and we want to build and unite. We want a united Mexico, not a Mexico divided between life and death,” the manifesto stated.
Cardenas expressed her agreement with the need to unite against abortion and said that she was happy to see so many people with blue flags, balloons and signs turning out to compete with the many marches by the so-called Green Tide for the right of women to decide about their own bodies staged in the Mexican capital in recent years.
She also insisted on the need to protect “the babies” above all, adding that “Dios gives (a baby) life, and so a person doesn’t have the right to take it away.”
Spokespeople for the march also rejected, according to a statement they issued, obligating doctors to participate in abortions and demanded that “the conscience and professional ethics of healthcare personnel” be respected.
On Sept. 20, Mexico’s high court invalidated the law permitting healthcare personnel to refuse to help women have abortions on the grounds of their personal sense of medical ethics, claiming as they have been doing that the procedure is too risky for the woman’s health.
Similar marches were also held on Sunday in 50 other cities around Mexico.
According to figures from the Supreme Court of Justice, between 750,000 and one million clandestine abortions are performed in Mexico each year.