Mexican Supreme Court: Distribute Morning After Pill, or Go to Prison

The Supreme Court of Mexico has ruled that the abortifacient ‘morning after pill’ must be distributed by all hospitals in Mexico, public and private. A Supreme Court Minister stated that officials who refuse to comply with the ruling may be removed from their positions, prosecuted, and imprisoned.

Doctors universally acknowledge that the pill can take the life of the zygote, which is a human life at the earliest stage. But the court ruled on Friday that it does not cause abortions, and therefore is compatible with the right-to-life amendments recently passed by the states of Mexico.

“We have finished with a matter that is very debatable and probably our decision is not universally convincing, but it is the product of the personal conviction of each one of the ministers, of our personal juridical knowledge and of our faithful knowing and understanding,” said Supreme Court President Guillermo Ortiz.

Minister José Ramón Cossío authored the court’s decision and said that those who refuse to comply “could be subject to very severe consequences, because noncompliance is one of the gravest points that the Constitution addresses.”

“If at the end of the day there were defiance of the sentence, [an official] can be removed from his office and be subject to a penal process for committing a crime against the administration of justice,” he added.

According to Cossío, doctors would not be given the privilege of conscientious objection.

“If the general authorities of the government have the pill, and some doctors don’t wish to give it, there are also sanctions against them contained in the Official Norm and the General Law of Health,” he said, claiming that “we’re not talking about an abortive process, and therefore there is no objection of conscience.  The doctor must offer [the morning after pill].”

Emilio González, governor of the state of Jalisco and author of the suit challenging the directive, said that he would comply with the Supreme Court decision.

Although the court’s decision theoretically applies also to Catholic hospitals, the bishops of the country have yet to comment on the decision.

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