Mexican Catholic bishop leads two pro-abortion ‘human rights’ organizations
SALTILLO, Mexico, August 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Catholic bishop of the Mexican city of Saltillo, José Raul Vera López, heads two organizations that advocate the decriminalization and provision of abortion and protest against pro-life amendments to state constitutions, LifeSiteNews has learned.
However, in an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews, Bishop Vera López denied the organizations are pro-abortion, insisting that advocating decriminalization is different than supporting abortion itself.
Vera is president of one of the organizations, the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center, based in the state of Chiapas, where he was once a coadjutor bishop. The second organization is the Fray Juan de Larios Human Rights Center, which he personally founded and which is an official organ of his diocese.
The groups have signed various pro-abortion “human rights” declarations and reports, which advocate the depenalization of abortion as well as the guarantee of abortion services by the government. A spokesman for the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights confirmed to LifeSiteNews in an interview that the group does support both positions.
“We are in favor of the depenalization of abortion because we are against criminalizing women who opt for that,” spokesman Jorge Armando Gomez told LifeSiteNews, who also said that doctors should not be penalized for performing abortions.
“In this sense we say that the government should guarantee the right to health, because quite often abortion is done in Mexico in unhealthy conditions or in hospitals where women aren’t guaranteed a good service.”
“So the government should provide the service in that case?” LifeSiteNews asked.
“Yes, in the framework of the right to health, like with many other services such as births, care for when we get sick, in the same way this action of opting to abort should be done in good conditions and life should not be endangered.”
Gomez claimed that the position of the center is not a pro-abortion position, but rather a position in favor of the “right to health.”
Among the various pro-abortion declarations supported by the two organizations headed by Bishop Vera López are two similar items published this year which bear their names. One of the reports is sponsored by the pro-abortion “All Rights for Everyone Network” (“Todos los Derechos para Todas y Todos”), an organization that supported the legalization of abortion-on-demand in Mexico City, paid for by the government, which was passed in 2007. Both Bishop López led groups are members of the All Rights for Everyone Network.
The 2011 declarations, entitled “Mexico two years after the Universal Periodic Examination,” and “Access to justice for women who are victims of femicidal violence, sexual violence, disappearances, and the sex trafficking,” complain that “despite the fact that the penal code [of the state of Guanajuato] permits abortion for rape [cases], the state does not provide services of legal interruption of pregnancy” (pp. 22 and 10 respectively). The first declaration also denounces the fact that “the lack of coordination between secretariats of health and public ministers in the states becomes an obstacle to female victims of rape to receive integral attention, as well as the legal interruption of a pregnancy that is the product of rape” (p .22). The second declaration asks the United Nations to initiate an inquiry with the Mexican government “regarding emergency contraception services and the provision of abortion in case in which women who are victimized by rape request it” (p. 13).
A third statement, a declaration issued in 2008 and published in the Guadalajara newspaper Público, opposes a proposed right-to-life amendment to the constitution of the state of Jalisco. The declaration denounces the fact that the initiative “intends to grant the title of rights to the unborn, against what is established by our constitutional system, and to assign an absolute character to such rights, ignoring the protection that the Mexican Constitution awards to the rights of women.” See statement in Spanish original with English translation here.
The names of both Bishop López led organizations appear under the declaration as signatories.
The Bartolomé de las Casas Center has signed several other pro-abortion “human rights” reports in the years preceding Vera’s presidency of the organization, in 2006, 2009, and 2010. However, it appears that none have been retracted since Vera’s appointment and at least one is available on theCenter’s website.
Bishop Raul Vera responds
Asked in an exclusive LifeSiteNews interview about the activities of his two “human rights” organizations, Vera insisted that their position in favor of eliminating penalties for abortion was not a “pro-abortion” position, but rather a position in favor of “depenalization” of abortion, which he regards as distinct. Vera called the penalization of abortion “the persecution of people who have abortions.”
“No, no, the penalization…what is debated here in México is the penalization or depenalization of abortion. That’s another thing. The penalization [of abortion] is the persecution of people who have abortions,” Vera told LifeSiteNews.
While acknowledging that abortion is “the murder of a child in the womb of his mother,” Vera claimed that there is a concern regarding penalizing abortion because such laws had been used to imprison indigenous women who had had miscarriages. This concern is not mentioned in the documents signed by the two groups, however.
LifeSiteNews will shortly publish a more extended account of the interview with Bishop Vera, who is currently being investigated by the Vatican for his sponsorship of a homosexual organization whose leadership condones homosexual behavior.