This report is provided by Sofia Martinez of Alliance Defending Freedom.
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Recently, a new bill called the Rights of Girls, Boys, and Adolescents was approved by a majority in Mexico’s Senate. The bill was approved despite radical changes to the law initially proposed by President Peña Nieto. Congress removed the so-called, “sexual and reproductive rights,” which activists fiercely advocated.
The Mexican people were crucial in modifying the proposed law. A petition to remove “sexual and reproductive rights” from the bill was signed by more than 60,000 people, compared to 13,000 in favor. When it was time for Congress to vote, a majority of legislators favored removing the terminology, causing the ire of sexual and reproductive rights activists. Despite reservations, the Senate approved the changes, which are well-documented, as is a letter opposing the bill from senators from the PRI and the PAN party.
But this law is still not a victory for pro-family advocates. Greater clarity must be stipulated in the law to avoid devious misinterpretation or confusion—especially since “sexual and reproductive rights” are non-existent. Why non-existent? Because Mexico has never signed an international human rights treaty that recognizes these. So what is at stake? These so-called “rights” can be interpreted to mean anything and risk jeopardizing the physical and emotional well-being of children and their future.
For many years, activists have been promoting “sexual and reproductive rights” as part of a radical ideological agenda that spans globally. This is not the first time we have come across this, nor will it be the last. Currently, activists are trying to promote reproductive and sexual rights for young female adolescents in Mexico’s national strategy to prevent teen pregnancy.
The main promoters of these “rights” in Mexico, such as GIRE, Mexfam, and Catholics for a Free Choice, have not yet reached a consensus on their definition. However, they agree that this definition must include an individual’s right to autonomy and privacy when it comes to an individual’s sexuality. In other words, the “right to decide over one’s body.” But by insisting on this language, these activists are really pushing for “the right to abortion,” which does not exist in any international human rights treaty.
In fact, the opposite is true. The right to life is affirmed in major international human rights bodies and treaties, such as the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights, the International Pact on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women. Alliance Defending Freedom defended the right to life when championing the removal of “sexual and reproductive rights” in the Rights of Girls, Boys, and Adolescents.
Sexual and reproductive rights activists will not stop here. They have now set their mark on modifying Mexico’s General Health Law. They want the current law to focus on reproductive health and the free exercise of “sexual and reproductive rights” in adolescents, while weakening parental rights. Activists will continue to try to introduce these “rights” into various laws at every turn.
But pro-life and family advocates are ready. As seen with the Rights of Girls, Boys, and Adolescents, they are willing to fight for fundamental human rights and are prepared to do it again. They will never tire of affirming the right to life.
-Sofia Martinez is legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom in Mexico City.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an international, alliance-building legal organization that advocates for religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and the family in numerous courts and consultative bodies worldwide.