http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-15104022

29 September 2011

Mexico’s Supreme Court has upheld an amendment to Baja California’s state constitution that stipulates life begins at conception, in a move hailed by anti-abortion campaigners.

Although seven of the 11 justices deemed the measure unconstitutional, eight votes were needed to overturn it.

More than half Mexico’s 31 states have enacted right-to-life amendments that severely restrict abortions.

However, Mexico City allows abortions in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Anti-abortion campaigners cheered after hearing the Supreme Court ruling.

“We have to continue working so that life may triumph,” Jorge Serrano, leader of an anti-abortion organisation Pro-Life, told Reuters.

The Supreme Court is due to consider a similar amendment in the state of San Luis Potosi, where the law also says that life begins at conception.

Justice Fernando Franco proposed the motion to declare Baja California’s law unconstitutional but the opposition of four judges sank the measure.

Giving their ruling, the justices said they based their analysis “strictly on constitutional issues. That is, the issue under debate was the power of states to legislate on topics that are not expressly determined by the federal constitution”.

However, some women’s rights activists fear that allowing individual states to decide their own rules may create a divide between those able to go to Mexico City for a legal abortion and those living in states where it is largely restricted.

Mexico City government’s Human Rights Commission said the court’s stance would worsen the serious public health problem of clandestine abortions.

The ruling highlights the difference between policies pursued by Mexico City’s authorities and more conservative administrations in other states, correspondents say.

All Mexican states allow abortion when pregnancy results from rape and most permit it when the woman’s life is in danger.

But pro-choice campaigners say that in practice this does not always happen.

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The Hungarian Parliament adopted yesterday the new constitution. The document was adopted despite criticism by the EU and even the UN about the lack of sufficient checks and balances between the executive and legislative powers.The constitution will be signed by the president Pal Schmitt on the 25th of April (1st anniversary of election that enabled the rulling right-wing party FIDESZ to change the constitution), and will come to the force on the 1st of January 2012.

Yesterday FIDESZ and Christian Democratic deputies voted in favour of passing the new law in the 262-to-44 vote, while radical nationalist Jobbik voted against. The decision by the main opposition Socialists and liberal parties to boycott the vote reflected the controversy not just over the contents of the Constitution, but also the way it was drafted and the political polarization that has continued ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990 and its satellites moved toward democracy. For FIDESZ on the other hand, the Constitution is to represent a break with Hungary’s communist past.

The new constitution appears to be a eulogy to Hungary’s Christian roots and past greatness.In the constitution’s preamble, the title “The Basic Law of Hungary” is followed by the subtitle “God Bless Hungarians,” the first sentence of the Hungarian anthem and a reference to the many Hungarians who became citizens of neighbouring countries following the collapse of the Habsburg Empire. “Motivated by the ideal of a unified Hungarian nation, Hungary shall bear a sense of responsibility for the destiny of Hungarians living outside her borders, shall promote their survival and development, and will continue to support their efforts to preserve their Hungarian culture, and foster their cooperation with each other and with Hungary,” reads Article D of the constitution.

Although one of the most disputed provisions curbs the powers of the constitutional court on budget and tax matters and allows the president to dissolve Parliament if a budget is not approved, the new provisions regarding protection of foetus from the moment of conception and defining family as a union between man and woman are equally alarming. The new constitution establishes the base for restricting abortion as it states: “Human dignity is inviolable. Everyone has the right to life and human dignity. The life of a foetus will be protected from conception.” Article M of the constitution reads that “Hungary protects the institution of marriage between man and woman, a matrimonial relationship voluntarily established, as well as the family as the basis for the survival of the nation”.

http://www.womenlobby.org/spip.php?article1371&lang=en

 

Send a letter today to the Hungarian Government ensure that the new Hungarian Constitution does not limit women’s reproductive rights or discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity!

Hungary is reviewing its Constitution. The EWL and its Hungarian members are concerned that the draft text for the Constitution – to be finalised by 25 April – contains provisions on that might result in violations of women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health and to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The language used in the draft Constitution regarding the right to life does not correspond to that used in international and European human rights instruments – to which Hungary is also party – and appears to unconditionally prohibit abortion, thereby probably leading to a tightening of legislation on abortion. The draft Constitution also gives a very conservative vision of marriage and family, thereby discriminating against new forms of couples and families, and not reflecting the society we live in.

It is unacceptable that in the 21st Century, a European country includes in its Constitution a provision which directly endangers women’s lives and families and allows for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Support our efforts to ensure that the Hungarian Constitution is a forward-looking document that protects and promotes the rights of all women.

Copy the text below or download the model letter and write to PM Viktor Orbán at:

You can copy:

Thank you for your support!

 

 

Your Excellency,

I write to express my concern that the draft text for the new Constitution of Hungary – to be finalised by 25 April – contains provisions on that might result in violations of women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health and to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The language used in the draft Constitution regarding the right to life does not correspond to that used in international and European human rights instruments – to which Hungary is also party – and appears to unconditionally prohibit abortion, thereby probably leading to a tightening of legislation on abortion. The draft Constitution also gives a very conservative vision of marriage and family, thereby discriminating against new forms of couples and families, and not reflecting the society we live in. It is unacceptable that in the 21st Century, a European country includes in its Constitution a provision which directly endangers women’s lives and families and allows for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. I trust that you will do your best to ensure that the Hungarian Constitution is a forward-looking document, taking the lead in promoting women’s rights and gender equality and non-discrimination for all women and men living in Hungary.

Sincerely yours,

 

 

 

The number of newborn babies in Hungary fell 6.3% to 90,350 last year, according to official data. The government is determined to boost this number and put Hungary ’s population back above 10 million. Contrary to original proposal, the new Hungarian constitution won’t ban abortion. Still, the country’s government wants to see more children and will use other means than a constitutional ban on abortion to achieve it. It has so far cut income taxes for parents and extended maternity leave to three years from two. It plans more places at kindergartens and considers granting extra voting rights to parents.

Source: Wall Street Journal, Veronika Gulyas

More:http://blogs.wsj.com/new-europe/2011/02/25/hungary-wants-more-children-but-wont-ban-abortion/?mod=google_news_blog%20%3Cp%3E

 

via http://feministsforchoice.com


It looks like the issue of abortion has taken center stage in the debate over constitutional reform in Kenya. Although the updated draft of the constitution still unfortunately maintains a legal ban on abortion, conservative Christian organizations are causing a ruckus over the exception for a mothers life. Apparently, protecting the health of women, in any circumstance, is against their religious beliefs. Furthermore, despite the fact that 60% of the public approves of the new draft, Kenya’s powerful churches are standing in the way of constitutional reform.

Yet local Christians say the provision for abortion, even in emergency circumstances, is antithetical to their beliefs. And they have received a kind of hallelujah chorus from likeminded conservative Christian groups in the US, including Rev. Pat Robertson’s group, the American Center for Law and Justice.


“It opens the door to abortion on demand, which is why Christian organizations who are pro-life are so opposed to that provision,” Jordan Sekulow, international director for ACLJ, told the Associated Press in an interview earlier this year.

In Nairobi, and throughout the country, religious activists have started a leaflet campaign to winnow away support for the draft constitution. One letter, signed by senior Pentacostalist church leaders, says, “we shall not endorse a constitution that has grossly overlooked justice and concerns persistently raised but ignored by the review organs for the warning in the Bible is very clearly recorded in Exodus 21:2 – ‘Do not follow the crowd in wrong doing. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd.’ ”


Delaying the new constitution is pretty problematic for the survival of the country, especially considering the recent outbreak of violence that materialized out of frustration with corruption in the election process. Of course, I wouldn’t expect fundamentalist Christian organizations to put the health of the country over their own ideological agenda. (more…)