Honduras’ National Congress ratified on Thursday, January 28th, with a wide majority, a constitutional reform that bullet-proofs the right to life from the moment of conception and the institution of marriage in that country.
The “shield against abortion”, as the reform initiative is called, gathered an absolute majority of 90 votes in favor -4 more than needed-, in the second round of votes in the Chamber’s plenary session.
Parliament only modified one article of the Fundamental Law of the country to read that abortion -in any circumstance- and same-sex unions equivalent to marriage become totally forbidden.
The Constitution, in place since 1982, already established on article 67 that “the unborn will be considered as born for all rights accorded within the limits established by law.”
The reform is explicit in saying that “it is considered forbidden and illegal the practice of the interruption of life of the unborn in any form, either by the mother or by a third party.”
And adds that this norm and article 112, which recognizes marriage as the union of a man and a woman, “could only be reformed by a three-quarters majority of the members of the National Congress”, meaning 96 out of the 128 members of parliament.
This device -affecting article 373 which determines how changes to the constitution should be made- is a lock of sorts before the pressure exercised by international organizations and interest groups over politicians in the countries of the region.
The reform initiative was proposed by Congressman Mario Perez, from the Honduras National Party (PNH), who is currently in power. The fast and effective coordination of Mauricio Oliva, president of Congress and member of the PNH, took by surprise and irritated pro-abortion and feminist organizations.
The UN office in Honduras reacted immediately with a brief press release where it “expresses its concerns for the reform’s approval incorporating the absolute prohibition of abortion and of marriage equality.”
The Catholic University of Honduras issued an official statement backing the reform. Diverse civic organizations, professional bodies, the Catholic Church and Evangelical communities have also stated their support to the approved change.