Ruling Mexico City Party Seeks Imprisonment for Doctors who Refuse to Cooperate with Abortions

MEXICO CITY, April 23, 2010 ( – Members of Mexico City’s ruling Party, the Democratic Revolution (PRD), which passed legislation in 2007 legalizing abortion on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, are now pushing legislation that would throw doctors in prison for refusing to do abortion referrals. According to the proposed law, doctors will be subject to one to four years imprisonment, and a fine equivalent of 100 to 300 days of minimum wage, as well as the suspension of their license, should they fail to inform women that they can kill their unborn child free of charge in city clinics. Beatriz Rojas, the legislator who introduced the measure, wants to punish doctors who “based on moral or religious concepts intend to influence the decision of the woman, misinforming her or deceiving her, regarding the decision to interrupt the pregnancy.” According to the Mexico City newspaper Milenio, Rojas says that many doctors in city medical clinics have refused to give women information about the availability of abortions in the capital, even after officials have made visits to request that the information be given. Although abortion has been legal in Mexico City since 2007, and approximately 40,000 abortions have been performed since then, large numbers of doctors and other health care professionals refuse to have anything to do with the deadly procedure. Opposition to abortion is even stronger outside of the capital, where seventeen states have passed pro-life amendments to their constitutions in response to the Mexico City law. Rojas’ proposed legislation will also require all doctors to perform the abortions themselves, unless they have registered officially as conscientious objectors. The bill will now be reviewed by various committees, and if approved by them will pass to the general legislature for a vote. It reportedly has twenty-two cosponsors.