Pro-life advocates in Mexico are speaking out against a leaked draft copy of Mexico’s revised National Criminal Code, which would legalize abortion throughout the country at all stages of pregnancy.

The draft copy, which was leaked to the press in recent days, is expected to be presented to Mexico’s federal congress in the coming weeks. The new criminal code is one of 14 reforms announced recently by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The document omits the entire section of the current code that criminalizes abortion and establishes the penalties for the practitioner and pregnant woman involved.

The current Federal Criminal Code imposes penalties ranging from one to three years in prison for anyone performing an abortion, although the penalty can be to eight years in prison “if physical or moral violence is involved.” A doctor or midwife who performs an abortion can also lose their medical license from two to five years.

A mother who consents to an abortion, or voluntarily induces an abortion, incurs a maximum penalty of one year in prison, except in cases of rape or when the mother’s life is at risk.

Rodrigo Iván Cortés, president of the National Front for the Family, explained that the creation of the National Criminal Code would eliminate all local criminal codes throughout the country.

As a result, abortion would be eliminated as a category of crime, “which would make this procedure non-punishable throughout the republic and at all stages,” Cortés told ACI Prensa, CNA's Spanish language partner agency.

“This is extremely worrisome. This would go against more than 20 state constitutions in the republic. And this would be an atrocious attack on human life, the fundamental right to exist,” he warned.

López Obrador, who took office in December 2018, did not campaign on the issues of abortion and gender ideology. However, members of his National Regeneration Movement (Morena) political party who were appointed to key positions in his administration have been swift to make moves in that direction.

The Archdiocese of Xalapa in the state of Veracruz called the draft code “murderous.”

Fr. José Manuel Suazo Reyes, communications director for the archdiocese, warned that “now with the stroke of a pen they seek to do an end run around the sovereignty of the states in the republic in order to impose the culture of death.”

“The National Criminal Code seeks to legalize the murder of innocent and defenseless human beings in all the states of the republic,” he said in a Jan. 19 statement on the archdiocese website. “It seeks to impose an anti-life policy throughout the entire Mexican territory, bypassing the sovereignty of the states and trampling the local constitutions that have protected human life from conception.”

In November 2009, the Veracruz state legislature enshrined the right to life from conception to natural death in the state constitution, although state law still permits abortion in the cases of rape, risk to the life of the mother and congenital deformities.

In July 2018, a federal judge ordered the state legislature to amend its criminal code to allow abortion. The state appealed the decision, which is now pending in the Supreme Court.

Fr. Suazo stressed that “in the Catholic Church we will always be promoters and defenders of respect for human life.”

“[T]hat's part of our doctrine, the defense of every human life, this is our conviction…” he said. “For all of this, we reject this murderous proposal that would legalize abortion throughout Mexican territory.”