Feminist leader admits ‘we inflated the figures’ to get abortion legalized in Mexico

Marta Lamas Marta Lamas in "Conversation on the Feminist Movement." | Video capture / Metropolitan Autonomous University.

A well-known feminist leader admitted in a video that recently went viral that “we inflated the figures” in the effort to decriminalize abortion in Mexico.

“At that time, I remember, we women said ‘100,000 women die from clandestine abortions.’ It turns out that 100,000 people died in the whole country, men and women from all diseases. We inflated the figures,” said Marta Lamas, one of the founders of the Group for Information on Elective Reproduction (GIRE) and a teacher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

“It was a very complicated process, where we learned many things,” she added, to the laughter of the attendees.

Right before that, as can be seen in the full video of the panel discussion “Conversation on the Feminist Movement,” organized by the Metropolitan Autonomous University, Lamas said that she thought of GIRE as being a “small instrument” to seek a “radical objective”: “I want abortion to be decriminalized.”

The video dates from Oct. 25, 2016, but has become viral in recent days after the Steps for Life platform shared it on Instagram.

Frida Espinosa, co-founder of the pro-life platform Juventud y Vida A.C. (Youth and Life) subsequently shared it on Twitter.

Through the efforts of feminist organizations such as GIRE, under the administration of the then head of the Government of the Federal District (now constituted as the Government of Mexico City), Marcelo Ebrard, abortion on demand was decriminalized for up to 12 weeks of pregnancy in the country’s capital.

Under the administration of the current president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and with the backing of his political party, Morena, eight other states have passed laws decriminalizing abortion similar to Mexico City’s.

Ebrard is currently López Obrador’s secretary of foreign relations and one of the possible candidates to succeed him in the 2024 presidential elections.

What is GIRE and how much power does it have?

GIRE was founded 30 years ago, consolidated as one of the largest and most powerful pro-abortion platforms in Mexico.

But it could hardly be said that its beginnings were small, as Lamas recalled, saying that she started the project together with Patricia Mercado, current senator for the Citizens’ Movement party.

Just one of the foundations that finances GIRE, the MacArthur Foundation, allocated $250,000 in 1994, two years after its creation, to “support a public education program on reproductive rights in Mexico (over three years).”

Since then, the money allocated by the MacArthur Foundation alone to GIRE amounts to more than $2.5 million (about 50 million Mexican pesos).

Another of the financial foundations funding GIRE, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, has given the organization close to $1.8 million (about 36 million Mexican pesos) since 2000.

The feminist method: lying

Speaking with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language sister news agency, Pilar Rebollo, director of Steps for Life in Mexico, pointed out that although “this video is not new,” it does serve to “uncover” the truth about the abortion industry.

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“We haven’t been on top of uncovering their lies,” she lamented, because in the video you can see “such cynicism as ‘well, that’s how we did it,’ and they laugh.”

“It’s no longer surprising,” this method of feminism, she said, and noted that in recent years the abortion agenda has spread false reports that there are women in Mexican prisons convicted of getting an abortion.

“Their method of lying, inflating, exaggerating isn’t new,” Rebollo said.

Rebollo warned that “we cannot allow further legislation, arming movements, or creating ideologies, with lies, with that cynicism.”

This video clip, she emphasized, “just because it’s old, is never out of date. There are always surprises.”

“And that surprise we have been seeing is conversation of feminists in which it’s normal, natural, and even something to laugh about among themselves to say ‘well, we lie and exaggerate.’”

“How scary” that GIRE “is called ‘Group for Information on Chosen Reproduction,’” Rebollo continued, “and how scary is that method of distorting the truth, of manipulating it to obtain other types of ends and benefits.”

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“But we mustn’t let up and we cannot be asleep in the face of this,” the pro-life leader said, because “they’re lying to the woman (telling her) that she can’t be a mother and that she doesn’t know how to be a mother, that maternity is a diagnosis.”

“They are alienating her from the truth, from nature, from everyday life to create another alternate reality,” she charged.

Frida Espinosa of the Youth and Life platform told ACI Prensa that for years, abortion advocates have “used death from clandestine abortion as an argument, providing hundreds of figures that can’t be verified anywhere.”

“Even so, the media and feminist groups don’t question them,” she criticized.

“The truth behind this data is manipulation and deception. And although it’s something we already knew, Marta Lamas, an activist who has spent years trying to legalize the murder of human beings, accepts it.”

Espinosa warned “that’s the reality of the movement: They always seek to change the truth to achieve their personal interests, no matter who they have to deceive or manipulate.”

Informing the public

Marcial Padilla, director of the Mexican pro-life platform ConParticipación, said that “it’s very important to inform the public that the same abortion groups, which have promoted the decriminalization of abortion, admit that they lied about the number of deaths from clandestine abortion.”

“There are people who agree with the decriminalization of abortion because they believe that this will save thousands of women’s lives, women who would die if they got a clandestine abortion,” she pointed out.

For Padilla, “it’s very sad to see that in something as serious as abortion lies are believed and the health of women and women's lives are used, precisely to abort and to leave her to face her pregnancy alone.”

“We pro-life groups have to continue to act clearly, firmly, to defend, and with love, the mother and the life of the child,” she said.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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