Birth control


Forgive the poor quality of the photo, but it is worth publishing because it is emblematic of Mexico City’s 21st-century identity problems. Mayor Marcelo Ebrard would have us believe that the city is, to use the government’s word, “liberal” – in the sense of being on the forefront of cutting-edge social and cultural thought and action. A case in point is the Mexico City law that permits women to have first-trimester abortions. (Most of Latin America, including the rest of Mexico, only allows abortions in cases of rape.)

However, this subway ad, for an organization called Vifac, purports to help pregnant women – according to its website, by shepherding them through their pregnancies and, in some cases, finding homes in which the babies can be placed for adoption. One citizen scrawled across the top of the ad Mejor no cojan – “better that they don’t fuck.”

Which perhaps demonstrates that it is hard for a city to be liberal when most of its most important institutions – such as the church and the family – still equate any woman who exercises her sexuality with a prostitute. About a month ago, Mexico City’s Catholic archdiocese suggested that woman should not wear miniskirts or provocative clothing, as those sort of outfits provoke men to rape.