Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mexico City: More Progressive than the U.S.

First Mexico City allows civil unions, now their legislature has legalized first-trimester abortions:
Mexico City lawmakers voted to legalize abortion during the first three months of pregnancy, a landmark decision likely to heighten church-state tensions in the Roman Catholic nation and lead to a bitter court battle.

Abortion-rights advocates said they hoped the vote would be the start of a new trend across Mexico and other parts of Latin America, where only Cuba and Guyana permit women to have abortions on demand in the first trimester. Most other Latin American countries allow it only in cases of rape or when the woman's life is at risk. Nicaragua,
El Salvador and Chile ban it completely.

But the debate in Mexico appeared far from over. Opponents vowed to challenge the law before the Supreme Court, saying it violates individual rights.


The bill, approved 46-19, with one abstention, will take effect with the expected signing by the city's leftist mayor. The new law will require city hospitals to provide the procedure in the first trimester and opens the way for private abortion clinics. Girls under 18 would have to get their parents' consent.

The procedure will be almost free for poor or uninsured city residents. Mexico City is a federal district similar to Washington, D.C., with its own legislature. The district includes the capital and its suburbs and is home to about 20 million people.

But wait, there's more!
On March 16, Mexico City began performing civil unions for same-sex couples, giving them most of the rights of marriage. City leaders attended the first ceremonies, ran newspaper ads publicizing the civil unions, and even hired mariachi bands to serenade the couples. There were almost no protests.

The northern state of Coahuila began performing same-sex unions on Jan. 31. In February, a lesbian couple from Texas became the first foreigners to be united there.

Mexico City also recently began allowing conjugal visits for homosexual prisoners. And in February, Mexico's Supreme Court ruled that HIV-positive soldiers cannot be expelled from the military.

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