Abortion foes in Mexico scored a victory Wednesday when the Supreme Court narrowly upheld a provision of Baja California’s state constitution saying life begins at conception.Although seven of the court’s 11 justices deemed the measure unconstitutional, they were short of the eight votes needed to overturn it.The court debate carried heightened suspense because two of the tribunal’s 11 members have joined since the court’s 2008 ruling upholding a Mexico City law allowing access to abortion. As it turned out, one new judge voted to uphold the Baja California measure and the other voted to invalidate it.Abortion opponents who had been camped outside the Supreme Court building whooped with glee at word of the ruling. In Baja California, Catholic Archbishop Rafael Romo of Tijuana hailed it as “a positive decision.”Advocates for reproductive rights called the close ruling a temporary setback in the country’s abortion debate…The court, ruling after three days of debate, next takes up a challenge to a similar anti-abortion law in the central state of San Luis Potosi.The two cases have been watched as a measure of abortion rights in Mexico, where more than a dozen states have enacted similar laws as a response to a move by Mexico City to legalize abortion in 2007. Outside the capital, abortion is already illegal, except in some circumstances, but it is infrequently prosecuted.
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