February 2, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Spain’s new, more conservative government has announced the details of its plan to revise the country’s abortion laws.
Under pressure from both sides in the debate, the People’s Party has indicated that it will return the country to the law that existed before the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE) reform in 2010, which allows abortion on demand during the first fourteen weeks of pregnancy.
The previous law permitted women to obtain abortions if certain conditions existed, which included psychological “health” reasons, based on diagnoses by mental health professionals. However, the requirements for such a diagnosis were weak and easily abused, leading to a system that in which over one hundred thousand abortions were performed annually in the country.
The PSOE responded to the abuse of the old law by simply eliminating the need for any health condition or other prerequisite during the earliest stage of pregnancy. The PP wishes to return to the old system, using stricter enforcement that would reduce the number of abortions permitted in the country, perhaps dramatically.
On Tuesday, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz told the press that the PP’s reform would be based on the Constitutional Tribunal’s 1985 decision affirming that women do not have “absolute primacy” over their unborn children, whose well-being was called “a good that is juridically protected”.
Fernandez Diaz also stated that the reform would give “support and help” to women who feel pressured to have abortions due to their personal circumstances.
Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon has also clarified that the PP’s reform will not seek to apply criminal penalties to women who have abortions, and that his cabinet is carefully studying ways to apply restrictions “without penal sanctions.”
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The nation’s abortion clinic owners, who receive hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the killing of unborn children, expressed their displeasure with the new approach.
The Association of Clinics Accredited for the Interruption of Pregnancy (ACAI) stated its “concern” over the prospect of returning to the previous law, claiming that it would limit “the right of the woman to decide regarding her gestation” and would represent “a clear retreat in relation to the basic rights of women.”
Although pro-lifers are welcoming the direction of the reform, they are making it clear that imposing stricter requirements is only a halfway measure for arriving at the ultimate goal: the prohibition of the killing of unborn children in all circumstances.
“How many abortions in Spain are acceptable to you? 120,000? 75,000? 20,000? Our response is clear: zero. We don’t want any children to be aborted,” said Dr. Gádor Joya, a physician who leads Right to Life, Spain’s largest pro-life organization.
The government’s proposal “gives us satisfaction, insofar as, for the first time in decades, abortion will retreat and the right to life will progress and the fallacious concept of abortion as a right is being done away with,” said Joya. However “the government cannot stop there.”