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With all eyes on a caravan of several thousand Central American migrants trekking through Mexico toward the U.S. border this week, it was perhaps easy to miss another massive march that unfolded in Mexico just a few days ago.
An estimated hundreds of thousands of Mexicans marched in cities across the country on Oct. 20 for an annual March for Life organized by the National Front for the Family. Abortion is illegal in most cases in most Mexican states, though it’s legal in Mexico City up to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
But the pro-life march last Saturday wasn’t an echo chamber to confirm the beliefs of a pro-life country: It was also at least partly a concern over Mexico’s new president, slated to take office on Dec. 1.
In July, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (often known by the acronym AMLO) won the Mexican presidency a landslide, touting an unabashedly leftist platform.
But when it comes to social issues, AMLO’s beliefs are less clear. He barely mentioned the subject during his candidacy, and he demurred at one point by saying both gay marriage and abortion should be put to a national vote.
In the meantime, his own political party made alliances with several smaller parties, including a group known for its socialist goals and a separate party known for its socially conservative ideals. When it comes to the new president, many supporters and activists wondered: Which is it?
The answer may be a little bit of both: It seems unlikely the new president would quickly press for expanding abortion in a nation where the practice is illegal in so many states. But he’s likely to face pressure in the progressive capital city to liberalize abortion and support gay marriage.
Either way, the caravan of pro-life marchers made clear last weekend they remain committed to defending the unborn, even as a new political era in Mexico is about to give birth.
Farther south, Brazilians are expected to turn out by the millions for their own presidential election on Oct. 28. In this case, pundits predict voters will choose a conservative candidate who is running under the slogan, “Brazil Above Everything, God Above Everyone.”
The Economist calls Jair Bolsonaro “a populist with authoritarian instincts.” But that may be part of his strong appeal for many Brazilians: In 2016, the Brazilian government impeached President Dilma Rousseff on corruption charges, and many understandably angry voters seem desperate to stem the tide of corruption afflicting their country’s government.
Bolsonaro has appealed to Christian voters in the predominantly Catholic country, which hosts a burgeoning population of Protestant believers.
Brazilians are scheduled to vote on a day Protestant Christians recognize as Reformation Sunday. It’s a good reminder that what Brazil—and every nation—needs most won’t come from political powers but from true spiritual reform.