Mexican Electoral Tribunal rules political party's pro-life ads 'offensive'

Ballot boxes for federal elections in Mexico City, June 6, 2021. Ballot boxes for federal elections in Mexico City, June 6, 2021. | ProtoplasmaKid via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Mexico’s Electoral Tribunal ruled Thursday that political ads against abortion and adoption by same-sex couples from the the Solidarity Encounter Party “contain statements and images of an offensive and/or denigrating nature.”

The ads for PES expressed the party's position on abortion and adoption by same-sex couples. They were run in April ahead of the 2021 Mexican legislative election held June 6.

"In the PES we defend the value of the family and we oppose people of the same sex being able to adopt," said one of the videos, which were run on social media. "There is only one mother, not two. There is only one father, not two," it added.

In the other proscribed video, the PES stated, “we live in a world in which almost everything is disposable, including life? For life and for the family we say no to abortion.”

The videos were initially proscribed by the Instituto Nacional Electoral, which organizes federal elections in Mexico. 

The Federal Electoral Tribunal, the part of the judicial branch that resolves disputes in federal elections, decided Nov. 4 that "although it is permissible and desirable to set out the ideas and opinions of the political parties that reflect their founding ideologies, they may not contain offensive, denigrating and/or discriminatory statements and images that are unnecessary to express their ideological position." 

"In the case of abortion," the tribunal said, "the statements contained in the spots are not covered by free speech, because they are not necessary to disseminate partisan ideology."

"In the case of adoption by homosexual partners, the court’s Superior Chamber determined that the proscribed ads exceed the limits of freedom of speech because they include discriminatory content."

Juan Carlos Leal, a former state representative for Nuevo León, warned that the ruling is an “attack on freedom of speech and conscientious objection.”

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish language sister news agency, Leal warned that “any political organization will be prohibited from mentioning that it is against abortion, that it’s against gender ideology, marriage equality, adoption by homosexual partners, among other issues.”

Leal commented, "we find it deplorable to see the completely ideological position of the court."

The ruling shows the need for political parties that defend life and the family, Leal said, while "pro-life groups and pro-family groups must unite to raise their voices against these types of resolutions."

PES won 1.35 million votes in the 2021 Mexican legislative election, or 2.85 percent of votes. Mexican law requires that parties achieve at least 3 percent to maintain registration as a party, and so the PES was dissolved in August.

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