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February 16, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Spanish physicians have won two important victories for the right to conscientious objection to performing abortions.

Yesterday, the Superior Tribunal of the Autonomous Community of Andalusia in Spain overruled a lower court that had denied conscientious objector protection to Dr. Manuel Resa, a primary care physician who has accused his superior of attempting to force him to participate in abortions.

The lower court refused to issue a preliminary injunction giving Resa conscientious protector status, claiming that his participation in the abortion would not have been direct.  The Superior Tribunal disagreed, however, and issued the injunction, noting that if the verdict in the suit ultimately favors him, he will not be able to benefit from the decision if protection is not immediately granted.

The decision was hailed by the Association for the Defense of the Right to Objection of Conscience (ANDOC), which noted that the decision “is another step towards the recognition of this right.”

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“Dr. Manuel Resa, member of ANDOC, is one of the almost 40 primary care physicians that the SAS (Andalusian Health Service) has deprived of his right to objection,” ANDOC stated in a press communiqué.

“This case is significant, because the court of first instance did not accept the request for the preliminary injunction against the negative decision of the (SAS) committee, because it believed that the objection could not prevail over the right to medical attention by those who request abortion.”

The Union of Physicians called the decision “very important.”

The decision follows a verdict of the Supreme Tribunal of Spain in late January, ruling against a couple who claimed that doctors had denied them their “right” to an abortion by failing to inform them about deformities in their unborn child.  However, the court did not deny the “right” itself, but rather claimed the deformities in question were not serious enough to invoke it.

The cases stem from the implementation of Spain’s new abortion law, created by the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party in 2010. The law decriminalizes abortion-on-demand during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy and allows abortions even later in cases such as fetal deformity. Since the passage of the law, doctors have been engaged in a struggle to establish the right of conscientious objection.

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