MADRID, Spain, April 19, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In a landmark ruling, a pro-life Spanish doctor who refused to refer for abortions was denied the status of “conscientious objector” under Spain’s controversial Abortion Act.
The unnamed family doctor from a public medical centre in Antequera in southern Spain applied for privileges under the country’s Abortion Act to be free from being required to refer women for abortions based on his conscience objections. However, the judge in the Malega court rejected the physician’s request, maintaining that his “duty to provide adequate health care prevailed over that of conscience,” according to the Telegraph.
Spain’s new abortion law, which allows the killing of the unborn on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, has been highly contested by conservatives and pro-life advocates, especially the Catholic Church in Spain.
The General Council of Official Medical Associations in Spain also denounced the law last May at their annual Congress of the Medical Profession in a statement termed “Abortion is Not a Right.”
Under the Abortion Act, medical physicians can refuse to perform abortions “for reasons of conscience.” However, in the case of the family doctor the judge ruled that the rights under the Act only cover physicians refusing to perform abortions and do not extend to those refusing to refer for abortions.
Reportedly hundreds of doctors have registered for the “conscientious objector” status under the Abortion Act since July.
Prior to its enactment, abortion was allowed in Spain only in cases of rape until 12 weeks gestation or 24 weeks if there was danger to a woman’s mental or physical health. Now, however, abortion is legal on demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and up to week 22 for life- or health-threatening concerns in the mother.