Episcopate Reminds Argentina That Constitution Bars Abortion

Amid Debate Over Court Nominee

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BUENOS AIRES, FEB. 8, 2004 (Zenit.org).- In the midst of a national abortion debate, Argentina's bishops reminded citizens of lawmakers' duty to defend life in keeping with the Constitution.



In a statement, the episcopate said last week that abortion is "expressly excluded from the national Constitution by the incorporation of the Pact of San Jose de Costa Rica, which recognizes life from the moment of conception."

"It is the obligation of all Argentines to respect the national Constitution, and it is a nontransferable function of the state to have it complied with and of the judicial power to guarantee this compliance," the bishops continued.

"To propose an eventual legalization of abortion contradicts the spirit and letter of the national Constitution and the feeling of the immense majority of our people, who believe that life is a gift of God entrusted to the care of all," they added.

The episcopate's press director, Father Jorge Oesterheld, explained that the statement responds to the debate that arose following statements by Carmen Argibay -- proposed by President Néstor Kirchner on Dec. 30 to be a member of the Supreme Court of Justice -- who said she is a "militant atheist" and in favor of abortion.

On Jan. 8, Bishop Jorge Luis Lona of San Luis, manifested his rejection of Argibay's pro-abortion position, and said she was proposed for the post "to modify the letter or the meaning of the Constitution, making possible the legalization of abortion in Argentina."

Subsequently, statements by numerous Argentine prelates were published alerting the public about Argibay's position. Some called for the withdrawal of her nomination.