Mexico City archbishop to Supreme Court: An attack on life is an attack on God

Pregnant_Credit_Syda_Productions_Shutterstock_CNA.jpg Credit: Syda Productions/Shutterstock.

Following the ruling by Mexico’s Supreme Court opening the door to the decriminalization of abortion, the Archbishop of Mexico warned that an attack "on life, is an attack on God."

In a Sept. 9 message, Carlos Cardinal Aguiar Retes stressed that "for the Catholic Church, the human being is created by God in the mother’s womb, and therefore, we hold that life is sacred."

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation on Sept. 7 invalidated various articles of the penal code of the state of Coahuila.

The invalidated sections refer to the prison sentence for women who intentionally abort their child, as well as restrictions for the healthcare personnel who help them.

The Archbishop of Mexico noted that “the instruction Donum vitae of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states that the human being must be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception.”  

"For this reason, from this moment on, the inviolable right to life of every human being must be recognized, and most especially those who cannot defend themselves," Cardinal Aguiar said.

He also pointed out that “since 1948, the United Nations Organization established several universal rights, one of them is the Right to Life. These rights are called ‘universal’ because they affect all humanity and therefore take priority.”

“The rights of women, on the other hand, are sectoral, since they are only for a part of society. The universal - Pope Francis reminds us - is greater than the sectoral, and therefore, women's rights cannot go against universal rights, which is a logical principle,” he explained.

The cardinal said the Supreme Court ruling "is facilitating the false way out, when the woman finds herself with an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy, under pressure in different ways."

The Archbishop of Mexico noted that “some studies carried out by Church organizations that care for (women with) what’s called post-abortion syndrome, as well as priests when administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation, bear witness that approximately 85% of the women who undergo this procedure have serious consequences to their physical, emotional, moral, psychological and spiritual health.”

"They are difficult consequences to overcome, and many times they even remain for the rest of their lives," he noted.

"The Catholic Church,” the cardinal said, “aware of this dramatic situation, condemns cultural machismo, which leaves women alone to face an unwanted pregnancy.”

“For this reason, the Catholic community offers help to women, before, during and after giving birth, through organizations led by committed lay people who make a heroic effort to save the life of the baby and the mother. Because both lives have the same value and dignity.”

For the cardinal,  "as a Church, we now face a major challenge" in wake of the Supreme Court ruling

This challenge, Cardinal Aguiar said, "should lead everyone: bishops, priests, religious and laity, to join forces to reach out to all those pregnant women in vulnerable situations."

"From now on, we must intensify the accompaniment and assistance to the woman who suffers this dramatic situation," he stressed.

The Supreme Court on Sept. 9 ruled against the protection of life from conception in the constitution of the state of Sinaloa. The decision invalidated an article that read that "the State protects the right to life from the moment an individual is conceived." 

More in Americas

The Supreme Court will take up the discussion of an action of unconstitutionality on the right to conscientious objection in the General Health Law, which could lead to health professionals being forced to participate in abortions, Sept. 13.

Elective abortion has been legal up to 12 weeks of pregnancy in Mexico City and the states of Hidalgo, Oaxaca, and Veracruz.

In July 2020 a panel of the Supreme Court had overturned a lower court's ruling that could have opened the door to legalized abortion throughout the country. In a 4-1 ruling, the panel of justices rejected a lower court's attempt to require the state of Veracruz to legalize abortion.

And earlier this year, the administration of president Andrés Manuel López Obrador and legislators from his ruling National Regeneration Movement had decided to put on hold a debate on amending the federal constitution to insert abortion rights and gender ideology.

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