Catholic priests performed an exorcism outside the Hidalgo state legislature in Pachuca to protest an initiative to legalize abortion.
Accompanied by anti-abortion groups, the priests sprinkled “exorcized” salt in the legislative precinct and prayed to expel what they called “evil and impure spirits [and] all the powerful satanic influences.” They also blessed the area with holy water while a chain of men, women and children recited the rosary around the perimeter of the legislature.
An abortion initiative that was passed last week by legislative committees is expected to be voted on by the full legislature by the end of the year.
In response to the passage of the initiative, pro-life protesters created a poster featuring photos of legislators who supported the bill and text that called them a “death squad.”
On October 31, a group calling itself the Celestial Wave burst into a plenary session of the state Congress to protest against abortion.
Made up mostly of women, the group carried blue handkerchiefs and signs bearing slogans such as “Hidalgo is pro-life,” “Hidalgo is not Oaxaca” and “Hidalgo stands for life. No to abortion!”
They demanded that the initiative be stopped and that the legislators behind it be put on trial.
Oaxaca voted to legalize abortion in September, and in October, Morena lawmakers proposed an initiative that would decriminalize it nationwide.
Abortion rights have expanded in much of the world since the early 1990s, but remain limited in Latin America.
In Latin America, abortion has been decriminalized only in Uruguay, Cuba and Mexico City. Elsewhere, such as in Brazil, access is limited and only available in cases of rape, risk to the mother or serious malformation of the fetus.