The Courier-Mail reports that the proposal to allow abortions to be carried out in the capital has split opinion in the world's second-largest Roman Catholic country and drawn fire from the Pope.
Anti-abortion activists hung a banner outside the cathedral showing gory images of aborted fetuses, while a small group of pro-abortionists shouted slogans supporting legalisation.
Mexico City's local legislature, controlled by the leftist opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, was expected to approve a bill on Tuesday allowing abortions in the capital during the first three months of pregnancy.
While the proposal is popular with many residents of liberal-minded Mexico City, it has also angered Catholics across the country, enraged clergy who helped organise today's march and brought Pope Benedict himself into the dispute.
In a letter to Mexican bishops, the Pope said Christ's victory over death was a reason to defend everyone's right to life "from the first moment of their conception".
Replying to the letter today, Mexico's top clergyman Cardinal Norberto Rivera promised to oppose what he called a "grave threat to innocent life".
"They are committing genocide, no-one has the right to take away life," said Maria Morales, a housewife who had travelled south from the state of Hidalgo to attend the rally.
Women seeking abortions in Mexico have to use clandestine clinics. The poorest rely on back-street practitioners working out of unhygienic premises. Some 2,000 die annually, the bill's supporters say.
Photo source: Gulfnews.com
Protests over plan to allow abortion (Courier-Mail, 24/4/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Norberto Cardinal Rivera Carrera (Catholic-Hierarchy)
PRD, Partido de la Revolucion Democratica
Party of the Democratic Revolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Miss Mexico mocks Catholic martyrs (CathNews, 19/4/07)
Mexican bishops turn heat on graphic sex education textbooks (CathNews, 24/8/06)
Pell says Australia changing its mind on abortion (CathNews, 15/2/06)
Pope says 'no' to gay marriage, abortion pill (CathNews 13/1/06)
24 Apr 2007