Vast Majority of Latin Americans Support Criminal Penalties for Abortion


By Mathew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

MEXICO CITY, May 28, 2010 ( - The vast majority of Latin Americans are in favor of maintaining criminal penalties for abortion, according to a new study.

The study, which polled residents of several Latin American countries, indicates that 60.4 percent of Mexicans favor criminal penalties for illegal abortions.

Mexico, however, is on the low end of the scale. In Brazil, 67.3 percent favor such penalties, and in Chile, 71.7 percent. In Nicaragua, where abortion is completely illegal, the majority reaches 82.2 percent.

In Mexico, women were even more likely to support the criminalization of abortion than men. Of those who support criminal penalties for killing the unborn, 32 percent are women, and 28.4 percent are men, according to the study.

The poll also reflects the fact that the pro-abortion drumbeat insisting that "women have the right to decide" to kill their unborn child has been heard by the people of Mexico -- and rejected.

While 57 percent said they had heard the slogan, 56 percent were in agreement with the statement that "the life of the fetus is above all things."

Claudia Dides Castillo, director of the Gender and Equity Program for the pro-abortion Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLASCO), which conducted the study, admitted to the press that Latin Americans are "conservative" on the issue of abortion. She added that the study's result reflects the fact that the prevailing image in Latin America is "the woman as the giver of life."

The survey was reportedly conducted through face-to-face interviews with an average of 1,200 respondents in each country. It has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

.- Mexican journalist Enrique Sanchez published an article in the magazine, Impacto, this week pointing out that a recent forum in Baja California demonstrates that the pro-life movement in Mexico is growing.

The “Citizens' Forum” was held last weekend in the city of Los Cabos in the Mexican state of Baja California.

In his article, Sanchez noted that during the forum, “Southern Baja California became the center of opposition to abortion, demonstrated by 21,000 notarized signatures” on a petition filed in court calling on the state's Congress to respond to a proposal which would guarantee the right to life.

Speakers at the forum included Mexican actor Eduardo Verastegui; Lianna Rebolledo, a 33-year-old woman whose 13-year-old son was conceived through rape; and representatives from numerous organizations. They all called on the state's Congress to recognize the demand from society for protection for human life.

During her remarks, constitutional lawyer Ingrid Tapia questioned the recent ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court allowing the use of the morning-after pill in cases of rape.

The anti-life norms upheld by the court have led “nearly one thousand hospitals and private clinics to request protection against implementing the directives, as the distribution of the morning-after pill in cases of rape was made obligatory, but the distribution free-of-charge of the drug was not established,” she said.

In addition, “Conscientious objection was not taken in to account, and since the pill is abortifacient when taken 72 hours after sexual relations, there will be medical personnel who will refuse to administer it,” Sanchez said.

“The state says, if you kill it, we’ll support you. If not, you’ll be left alone,” he added.