What Matters in Mexico

As conservatives continue to view Mexico through the three-dimensional lens of immigration, immigration, and immigration, they might want to widen their perspective to consider a human-rights atrocity that ought to outrage them as much as border fences.

While virtually no one north of the border seemed to be watching, lawmakers in Mexico City overwhelmingly approved a bill to legalize abortion for any reason and under any circumstance during the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy. This is no small measure for some small city. Mexico City has a huge population, and this unprecedented legislative action will deeply affect the lives of the more than 24 million inhabitants of the Federal District of Mexico City.

The move is a shock to Mexico and to Latin America generally, which has mercifully lagged behind “sophisticated” nations like America and the social-welfare states of Western Europe, which long ago legalized abortion. In fact, abortion-rights advocates say that Mexico still has a long way to go, since the bill contains a “restriction:” girls under 18 require parental consent before obtaining an abortion.

Where will the abortions take place? The new law, to the horror of Mexico’s pro-life community, allows hospitals to function simultaneously as abortion clinics, where doctors who swore a Hippocratic Oath to save life will work aside a new type of doctor specially trained to exterminate life. The bill also provides means for the establishment of private abortion businesses, meaning Mexico is on its way to developing its own abortion industry.

Mexico’s pro-life community is sick over the prospect that this action is a foot in the door to the wider legalization of abortion to other regions of the country and, eventually, to the extension of abortion rights into the second trimester and beyond. They fear the American trend of runaway abortion laws. More, they abhor the prospect of a domino effect by which legalized abortion begins sweeping throughout historically pro-life, Catholic Latin America, a process that may be happening already. If Mexico does not embrace the American model, pro-lifers dread another path—perhaps Western Europe’s toxic brew of abortion, birth control, euthanasia, and, overall, general population plunge.

As for abortion-rights groups in America and around the world, they are thrilled with the Mexico City decision, which they view as a tremendous achievement for women; they envision a day of millions, if not tens of millions, of abortions performed annually throughout Latin America, generating billions of dollars in revenue for an exploding, thriving abortion industry.

No doubt, they must also feel a sense of vindication: It was in Mexico City in 1984, at the International Conference on Population, that the Reagan administration had fought for and secured a statement unequivocally affirming that legitimate “family planning” did not include abortion. Ever since then, global feminists have searched for an opportunity to turn the tables. They had hoped it would happen at Cairo in 1994, under the leadership of Vice President Al Gore and First Lady Hillary Clinton—but to no avail. For these feminists, the Mexico City decision now, in 2007, tastes ever so sweet.

Speaking of which, if those facts don’t anger American conservatives, maybe this will:

Mexico’s abortion advocates received significant support from pro-choice groups in the United States, especially the Center for Reproductive Rights, based in New York City. The Center hailed the “historic” bill in Mexico City, and it was far from alone in celebrating.

Planned Parenthood reportedly had its fingerprints at the scene as well. According to Human Life International, an anti-abortion group that lobbied against the Mexico legislation, Planned Parenthood’s affiliate MexFam received $3.4 million from 2002-4 to push for this and similar legislation. “In other words,” Human Life International president Father Thomas Euteneuer told the National Catholic Register, “American abortion dollars bought this decision of death.”

There did not seem to be a groundswell of support or demand for this action among the citizens of Mexico, who, according to polls, strongly oppose abortion. Nonetheless, their public officials did what they did, somewhat akin to how a group of men on the U.S. Supreme Court in one stroke in 1973 made abortion the law of the land in America.

Where Mexico goes from here remains to be seen. The Mexican pro-life community is gearing up for a long battle of attrition, for a never-ending war in the trenches, fighting valiantly to limit the damages, to ready for the next legislative struggle to try to preserve some semblance of a culture that respects the sanctity and dignity of human life.

So as American conservatives continue their Mexico myopia—immigration, immigration, immigration—they might cast their gaze momentarily at this new political development that ought to likewise concern them. The foes of a Culture of Life—laboring tirelessly below the border—have suddenly devised their own method for stemming the flow of humanity.