Wednesday July 14, 2010

Spanish Archbishop Urges Defiance of New Abortion Law: ‘This Law is no Law’

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

BURGOS, Spain, July 14, 2010 ( – The Archbishop of Burgos, Francisco Gil Hellín, has issued a call to Spanish Catholics to resist the country’s new abortion law, which he says is no law at all.

In a statement published on the bishops’ Catholic Information Service, Gil Hellín laments the recent promulgation of the law, an “evil law which is directly opposed to right reason and the most elemental justice. Such is the law that establishes that the Spanish have the right to kill the unborn, as long as they do it before 14 weeks.”

“Let us diagnose it with total clarity: this law is no law, although it is presented as such by some political and legislative bodies. And it isn’t because no one has the right to eliminate an innocent. For that reason, it doesn’t obligate. Even more, it demands a head-on opposition without reservation. Right reason cannot admit as a right the killing of an innocent person.”

The new abortion law, which is being contested before Spain’s Constitutional Tribunal, abolishes penalties for all abortions during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. It also allows minors to obtain abortions without parental permission, although they must first inform their parents of their intention to do so.

The archbishop rejects arguments that claim the law is somehow valid because it was passed by the legislature and approved according to the required legal processes.

“It is a fallacy to affirm that this law has been approved by the majority of the Parliament and that this represents the majority of the citizens, or to say that if the Constitutional Tribunal decrees its conformity [with the Constitution] it would be disobedience to oppose it, and would deserve a punishment. The fallacy consists in attributing to politicians, judges, or citizens a right that they don’t have, and no one has the right to legislate that an innocent can be killed.”

“What society would continue if it declared that is the right of citizens to kill innocent persons by majority [vote]? In the best scenario it would be converted into a tyranny, against which upright persons would have to react, according to this advice by Gandhi: ‘As soon as one understands that obeying unjust laws is contrary to his dignity as a man, no tyranny can dominate him.'”

The archbishop’s strong statements were made only days before the Constitutional Tribunal is to decide if the law will be suspended while it is under review.

A previous ruling of the Tribunal in the 1980s decreed that the right to life of the unborn child is paramount except in certain cases, including danger to health, rape, or fetal deformity.